The Blue Green Blog

Selected tags

Overfishing describes the situation where more fish are caught than the population can replace through natural reproduction. Across the globe, overfishing poses a massive threat to marine ecosystems. It also has an impact on human life, particularly coastal communities in developing countries that depend on fish for their way of life.

It needs to be understood that our seas and oceans cannot provide us with unlimited amounts of fish and other seafood. Over the last 50 years, an increase in fishing activity and unsustainable fishing practices are leading many fish stocks to collapse.

In fact, over 30% of the world’s fisheries require management plans to restore them, having been pushed past their biological limits. Many species of commercial fish populations such as Atlantic bluefin tuna have reached the point of being endangered. An increase in fishing of tuna, groupers, and other top predators leads to in imbalance in marine ecosystems, and an increase in the number of smaller species such as sardines and anchovies.

Although many fishers are aware of the importance of protecting marine environments, a lot of illegal fishing still occurs.

Some facts about overfishing:

  • Currently, each person eats an average of 19.2kg of fish a year – around twice as much as 50 years ago.
  • Over the past 40 years there has been a 39% decrease in marine species.
  • Illegal and unregulated fishing constitutes an estimated 11-26 million tonnes (12-28%) of fishing world-wide.
  • Almost 30% of fish stocks commercially fished are over-fished.
  • In the North East Atlantic and nearby seas, 39% of fish stocks are classified as overfished. In the Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea, 88% of fish stocks are overfished.
  • The European Union is the world’s primary importer of fish.
  • Over 50% of imports are from developing countries.