Over Fishing

  • Over fishing contributes to the depletion of the world's oceans and directly impacts the health of coral reef systems.
  • 36 percent of the world’s reefs are already diminished by overfishing and scientists predict that this number is set to double over the next few decades.
  • Over fishing occurs when fish and other marine species are caught faster than they can reproduce. Estimates indicate that 3/4 of the world's fish stocks are currently effected by this non sustainable practice.
  • Over fishing is the result of the insatiable demand for seafood around the world, combined with poor management of fisheries.
  • Many reef animals are especially vulnerable to overexploitation because they take considerable time to mature sexually. By catching so many adult species, not enough remain to breed and replenish the population.
  • Overfishing can degrade reefs because fish are one of the key functional groups that keep reefs in tact. In some areas, overfishing has already resulted in the local extinction of important species such as giant clam and grouper.
  • By removing specific species, overfishing changes the coral reef food web. For example, removing an algae eating species, like the parrot fish, can create conditions where algae may replace corals, which ultimately disrupts overall reef balance.
  • Eighty percent of fish stocks are already fully exploited or in decline. Ninety percent of all large predatory fish including tuna, sharks, swordfish, cod and halibut are already gone. Loss of predatory fish leads to harmful effects throughout the delicate reef ecosystem.
  • Overfishing is responsible for the loss of critical species as well as entire reef ecosystems. As a result the overall biodiversity of the world's oceans is under stress and at risk of collapse.
  • Scientists predict that if current trends continue, world food fisheries could collapse entirely by 2050.