"There's no question that the world's fish are in trouble. Fishermen are pulling fish out of the seas far faster than these populations can grow back. Some fisheries are heading toward collapse or even extinction. But a major new analysis of this grim picture shows that fisheries aren't doomed. In fact, some are on the mend.
This new study grew out of a raging controversy. Three years ago, Boris Worm and his colleagues at Dalhousie University in Canada sent shock waves through the world of fishing and fisheries science. They published a paper in Science magazine showing that if current trends continued, the oceans would be essentially fished out by the middle of this century.
The conclusion was enormously controversial, both for its methods and for its conclusions. But the controversy didn't just generate heat -- it has generated light, Worm says.
'Coming out of that controversy, some of the critics and myself and some of my co-workers -- and a lot of other people interested in the topic -- got together to do what is probably the most detailed assessment of world fisheries to date.'
Worm says this new analysis relies on much more scientific data to assess the state of the world's fisheries. And it is still not an upbeat report.
'This trend in increasing species collapse that we found in the previous paper still persists,' he says. ...
'What this paper shows is there are solutions, and those solutions are beginning to work in a number of places,' Worm says."
Richard Harris reports for NPR's All Things Considered July 30, 2009.
"Having Fish and Eating It Too"(New York Times)
"Can This Fishery Be Saved?" (Miller-McCune)
"Fish for Dinner: Overfishing Easing in Some Areas" (AP)
"Scientists Who Debated on Fisheries Team up for Comprehensive Study" (Seattle Times)
"Atlantic Fisheries Show Little Recovery" (Canwest)