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

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Oct 13, 2015
In this photo taken on Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015, Syrian armored vehicles get ready to move near the village of Morek in Syria. The Syrian army has launched an offensive this week in central and northwestern Syria aided by Russian airstrikes. (AP)

Russia’s big power play in Syria, the US response, and where this could go.

Oct 13, 2015
The bare landscape of Crimea, Ukraine, offers little protection in warfare, and German infantrymen hug the ground to escape enemy fire, Jan. 7, 1942.  (AP)

We’ll talk with historian Tim Snyder, who sees resource wars behind past genocides and says climate change now raises the danger again.

Oct 12, 2015
A portion of the cover of Larissa MacFarquhar's new book, "Strangers Drowning." (Penguin Press / Courtesy The Publishers)

An extreme commitment to others. Larissa MacFarquhar joins us with stories of those who sacrifice almost everything to do good.

Oct 12, 2015
Orleans Parish Criminal Sheriff Marlin Gusman talks on his phone outside the newly constructed jail as prisoners are transferred into the facility in New Orleans, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015. (AP)

Step one in sentencing reform: 6,000 federal prisoners will go free at the end of this month. We’ll dig in.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Meet The Interns, Fall 2015
Friday, Oct 9, 2015

Meet our Fall 2015 interns! (Better late than never, right?)

More »
Our Week In The Web: October 9, 2015
Friday, Oct 9, 2015


More »
Rep. Daniel Webster: ‘I’m Gonna Sell This Message’
Tuesday, Oct 6, 2015

When House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced his retirement and resignation from his position last month, it surprised both his Party and the Washington political establishment.

More »