A new survey (published in the 'Science' journal) has predicted that by the year 2048, or thereabout, the world's supply of wild seafood species (or commercial fishing species) might just run out thanks to over-fishing and environmental degradation.
52 % of global fish stocks are fully exploited, while overexploited and depleted species have increased from about 10% in the mid 1970s to 24% in 2002, according to a study titled 'Ecosystems and Biodiversity in Deep Waters and High Seas', which was issued jointly by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Conservation Union (IUCN). Apart from the basic ecosystem worries, another ecosystem - the economic system that is sustained by fishermen's incomes - might be dealt a death blow.
Global fishing yields, on an average, have dipped by about 13% since 1994. And considering that 200 million people in the world depend on fishing, which happens to be an $80 billion industry, that looks like a strong punch for the world economy to take. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that only about 1% of the total area of the world's oceans is protected against over fishing. A recent UN general assembly resolution called for sustainable fisheries and States to act in a precautionary manner and apply an "ecosystem approach" to the conservation, management and exploitation of fish stocks.
Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing constitutes a serious threat to fish stocks and marine habitats and ecosystems, to the detriment of the food security and the economies of many countries, particularly poorer ones. The situation calls for empowerment of especially the poorer states to crackdown on illegal and unregulated fishing to avert environmental and economic disaster.