Not Enough Fish in the Sea

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Overfishing means catching fish faster than they can reproduce. Overfishing pushes the fish population lower and lower, until fish are so few that fishermen can’t make a living any more. Many fisheries have already collapsed.

In the second half of the 20th century, ocean fishermen increased their catch 400% by doubling the number of boats and using more effective fishing gear. In 1989, the world’s catch leveled off at just over 82 million metric tons of fish per year, which is all the ocean can produce.

Overfishing affects the marine ecosystems in which species are embedded. Scientists warn that this will result in profound changes in our oceans, perhaps changing them forever. (Source: Greenpeace, Monterey Bay Aquarium.)

The graphic below illustrates the current status (as of 2001) of fish stocks. For a graphic illustrating the effects of overfishing, see here. And for one showing the challenge of rebuilding depleted fish stocks, see here.

Overfishing chart

Back to The Last Days of the Ocean project index

Back to Julia Whitty’s feature story, “The Fate of the Ocean”

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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