Globally, fish stocks are plummeting. Industrial fishers are using increasingly sophisticated technology to locate and catch more and more fish. They’re outstripping nature’s ability to replenish the seas.
Today’s fleets can take massive quantities of fish from areas of ocean that used to be inaccessible. Three quarters of the world’s fish species are being hunted faster than they can breed. Populations of the most popular fish like tuna, salmon, shark and swordfish have been devastated. They’ve dropped 90 per cent since 1950.
Overfishing doesn’t just threaten the targeted species. Industrial fishers use destructive and wasteful methods. Every year they accidentally capture 27 million tonnes of unwanted fish and other marine life such as turtles, seabirds and dolphins. Most are thrown back into the ocean dead or dying. In addition, entire ecosystems can be thrown out of balance by shifts in fish populations.
People, too, are being affected. Tuna is a critical protein source for millions. This is true for communities throughout the Pacific region where the tuna fishery is being plundered by massive foreign fishing fleets.
We’re campaigning for the establishment of marine reserves, areas of ocean that are off limits to fishing that would cover 40 per cent of our oceans. They are vital to restoring the health of our rapidly declining oceans. Marine reserves provide ocean life a safe haven and the freedom to mate, spawn and feed without the pressure of capture or habitat loss.
Greenpeace is working with governments and communities in the Pacific to stop destructive, illegal and unsustainable fishing. We are making great progress towards ending fishing in four pockets of international waters that lie between a dozen Pacific Island countries.
Smart seafood lovers also have an important role to play in protecting oceans. They can send a powerful message to the fishing industry by demanding sustainable seafood at their local shops. As a result of consumer demand there is a growing list of seafood retailers in North America and Europe that have adopted sustainable seafood policies and are removing from sale unsustainable seafood. We are encouraging New Zealand supermarkets to do the same