The effects of overfishing are still reversible, that is, if we act now and act strongly.
When fish stocks decline and and fisheries become commercially unviable Commercially unviable: The fishing effort -taking in account costs, subsidies, offset prices etc- needed being too high to make an economic profit. the damaged stock gets some rest and generally struggles along on a pathetic level compared to it's pre-fishing level, but doesn't go biologically extinct Biologically extinct: when a species population density is so low that no partners are available for mating purposes.. A damaged system is struggling and shifting, but can still be active (e.g. filled with jellyfish instead of cod).
If we want to we can reverse most of the destruction. In some situations it might only take a decade, in other situations it might take many centuries. Yet in the end we can have productive and healthy oceans again as is shown in many examples around the world. We do however need to act on it now, before we cross the point of no return.
Every long-term successful and sustainable fishery, near-shore or high-seas, needs to be managed according to some basic ground rules:
We need to make sure management systems based on these rules are implemented everywhere. In combination with the banning of the lavish -hidden- subsidies to commercially unviable fisheries.
It's fair to say that individuals cannot solve this global problem all by ourselves, we need politicians to strengthen international law. What we can do is make a difference. Over a decade ago many people started buying dolphin-friendly tuna. Now the time has come to buy ocean friendly tuna. Which might actually entail not buying any tuna at all. Check out the Guide to Good Fish Guides. Here are some of the actions you yourself can undertake.
Continue to chapter four: Where can I find answers.
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