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From: Olivier De Schutter, Ecologist,
Published November 15, 2012 08:43 AM

All over the world, food systems and the ecosystems they rely on are coming under pressure from the over-exploitation of natural resources. But nowhere are these impacts occurring as rapidly and dramatically as in the world’s oceans.

Between 1970 and 1990, buoyed by generous fuel and boat-building subsidies, the harvesting capacity of the worlds combined fisheries grew eight times faster than the rate of growth in landings. This led to a situation where the capacity of the global aggregate fishing fleet is at least double what is needed to exploit the oceans sustainably.

A vicious cycle has ensued whereby fishing vessels have gone further and deeper in their hunt for fish, degrading marine environments and depleting stocks ever further. Fishing methods such as industrial bottom trawling – the equivalent of deforestation in deep waters — have proved particularly destructive and wasteful, while climate change, ocean acidification and pollution have further destabilized marine environments. Read the full article