Written by Tadashi

Modified & Updated: 16 May 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett

Overfishing Facts, 400 tons of Chilean jack mackerel

Scientists today agree that overfishing makes up one of the greatest threats to the future of our oceans. Not only does it threaten so many fish and aquatic species with extinction, but it can also push the oceanic ecosystem to collapse. Learn more about this threat to the natural world with these 40 overfishing facts.

  1. An estimated 34% of the world’s fish stocks suffer from overfishing today.
  2. The Mediterranean and Black Sea’s fish stocks suffer from an estimated 62% overfishing.
  3. The Atlantic Ocean’s fish stocks similarly suffer from an estimated 59% overfishing.
  4. On average, only an estimated 39% of the Pacific Ocean’s fish stocks suffer from overfishing.
  5. Depleted fish stocks cost the global fishing industry an estimated $50 billion every year.
  1. Overfishing destroyed the tuna industry in the Adriatic Sea in 1954.
  2. The Peruvian anchovy industry similarly collapsed thanks to overfishing in the 1970s.
  3. Overfishing wiped out the bull walleye in North America’s Great Lakes in the 1980s.
  4. The collapse of the Newfoundland cod industry led Canada to ban fishing in the Grand Banks in 1992.
  5. In 2002 the Rio+10 Summit warned that overfishing threatened food supplies for millions of people worldwide.
  6. The British government officially admitted in 2007 that overfishing has brought sole populations in the Irish Sea and other nearby waters to the brink of collapse.
  7. The UN stated in 2008 that thanks to shrinking fish populations, up to half of the world’s fishing fleets suffer from redundancy.
  8. Environmental organizations warned in 2015 that fish species like bonitos, mackerel, and tuna, had suffered a 74% population drop since the 1970s.
  9. As of 2021, overfishing has also contributed to a 71% drop in the world’s shark and ray populations.
  10. The Nature journal in 2021 also stated that overfishing has become the biggest threat to the ocean’s biodiversity.
  1. The fishing industry has a financial incentive to oppose anti-overfishing measures.
  2. Illegal fishing accounts for up to 33% of the world’s fish catches.
  3. Overfishing has directly contributed to increased rates of schistosomiasis infection in Africa.
  4. Global jellyfish populations have also risen, thanks to overfishing.
  5. As fish stocks drop, thanks to overfishing, the market price of fish also rises in response.
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