The facts about worldwide overfishing are surprising and alarming. Whether it is the world’s oceans, lakes or rivers, the signs of overfishing are all around us. Here are some statistics that everyone should know about this serious threat to the environment:
- The World Health Organisation reports that more than 1 billion people worldwide depend on fish as their primary source of protein
- According to the United Nations, 17% of fish stocks worldwide are currently overexploited; 52% are fully exploited; and 7% are depleted. This means that only an estimated 20% of worldwide fish stocks are not already at or above their capacity.
- Approximately 90% of fish stocks of large predatory fish are already gone, as overfishing has disproportionately targeted the largest fish at the top of the food chain.
- Catches of Pacific herring have decreased by 71% since the 1960s, with Atlantic herring catches falling by 63%. Atlantic Cod catches have fallen by 69% in the same time.
- Total harvesting of wild fish from the world’s oceans stands at approximately 90 million tons, a number which has been level since the mid-1990s.
- Commercial fishing from the world’s lakes and rivers has quadrupled in the last 50 years to now total 8.7 million tons annually – and growing.
- Depending on the estimate, overfishing leads to a loss of between $6 and $36 billion in food production revenue every year.
- Production of farmed fish has increased from 24 million tons in the mid-1990s to 67 million tons in 2012.
Fish farming is now the fastest growing agricultural industry worldwide, with consistent 8% growth for the past 30 years