The Problem

The use of over-efficient fishing technology, the lack of sufficient scientific data regarding the oceans, the ignorance and apathy of humanity towards this oceanic crisis, and insufficient implementation of existing maritime agreements are resulting in a decrease in the biodiversity of the ocean, changes to ocean chemistry, changes in the genetic composition of marine species, disturbances to the food web and ecosystem, collapse of fish stocks, and irreparable damage to marine ecosystems and to the fishing industry (including all people dependent on fish for sustenance, income, and cultural value).

The problem has not arisen overnight. Historically, fishermen believed that the ocean could support unlimited fishing (Kurlansky 1998). As stocks began to collapse, however, international limits and regulations on fishing were implemented. Many nations, however, have cultural and economic ties to the fishing industry that impede the implementation of fishing regulations. Currently, the United Nations is working to control overfishing, enforce fishing regulations, and resolve international fishing disputes.

Figure 1. Taken from

For a perspective on the problem it is useful to look at both the past and present state of affairs in the ocean.