The Future of Fish

We’ve heard it before and turned back to our tuna sandwiches — the world’s fisheries are in big trouble. But this time, the headline was a screamer: “global collapse” of all species currently fished by 2050.

Everything, essentially, except jellyfish and sea slime will be gone from the seas. And not so many fish and chips orders from now.

Critics say American fisheries are in fact on the uptick, thank you. But the global picture — and too many home waters — is of massive trawlers clear-cutting the ocean floor, maybe one day forever.

We talk with the lead author of the alarming new report, a critic of the study and with a Maine fisherman, winner of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” award, about the future of fish in the sea.

Quotes from the Show:

“Globally speaking, this trend [the fish species disappearing by 2050] is predictable.” Boris Worm

“The projection [of the study] is silly because it fails to recognize that some areas have reversed the trend.” Ray Hilborn

“Some areas of the world like the Mediterranean are very dismal.” Boris Worm

“Iceland has turned its fisheries around. My problem with Boris’ paper is that it doesn’t mention such success stories.” Ray Hilborn

“If we do nothing, we may see a continuation of the trend that Boris Worm warns about.” Ted Ames

“I’m not a fan of marine protected areas because they have little effect.” Ted Ames

“Area management based on ecological components would work best.” Ted Ames


Boris Worm, Professor of Marine Conservation Biology, Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada;
Ray Hilborn, Professor of Fisheries Management at the School of Aquatic and Fisheries Sciences at the University of Washington, Seattle;
Ted Ames, fisherman from Stonington, Maine and winner of a MacArthur Foundation “genius” award.;
Michelle Jost, conservation manager at the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, where she heads the sustainable seafood program

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