Overfishing has been, and will be, a cause of war and international disputes. This book argues that, we are nearing The End Of The Line for fish stocks and whole ecosystems in the world's oceans, and that it is time we arranged things differently.
The perception-changing moment for the oceans has arrived. It comes from the realization that in a single human lifetime we have inflicted a crisis by overfishing on the oceans greater than any yet caused by pollution. That crisis compares with the destruction of mammoths, bison and whales, the rape of rainforests and the pursuit of bush meat. As a method of mass destruction, fishing with modern technology is the most destructive activity on Earth. There is no exaggeration in saying that overfishing is changing the world. Just as the deep sea has become the last frontier, its inhabitants a subject of fascination to film-makers, so creatures of the shallow seas, such as sharks and sea horses, are on a slide to extinction. Overfishing threatens to deprive developing countries of food in order to provide delicacies for the tables of rich countries, and looks set to deprive tomorrow's generations of healthy food supplies so that companies can maintain profitability today. As traditional fish stocks crash and others are found as substitutes, overfishing is altering our diet. It is even altering evolution: the North Sea cod has begun to spawn at an earlier age in response to the pressure of fishing.