Over the past 50 years many of the ocean’s large fish, such as Bluefin tuna and cod, have been fished to the point of collapse. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization’s 2010 State of the World’s Fisheries and Aquaculture report, 85 per cent of the world’s fisheries are either fully exploited, over exploited, depleted, or recovering from depletion.
Advances in fishing technology have added to the problem. Here are a few examples:
- The largest trawl nets can hold a dozen jumbo jets and reach two kilometres down to the seabed
- Fishing lines have thousands of hooks stretching for kilometres on end
- Helicopters spot tuna shoals and radio their location to fishing captains
- Sonar allows fishers to place nets directly on targeted fish
At least 40 per cent of the global fisheries catch is ‘bycatch.’ Much of it is thrown back into the sea dead, dying or damaged.