Study: Fish Populations Could Rebound in 10 Years

Decades of declining fish populations could be reversed with a near-full recovery in just 10 years, researchers say.

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A new study has found that the alarming rate at which fish populations have been decreasing may be able to be reversed within 10 years. Published in the most recent issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study found that with the implementation of more sustainable fishing practices, 77 percent of the ocean’s fish populations would have the ability to rebound in the next decade—and potentially double by 2050. With only 47 percent of fisheries considered biologically healthy today, researchers say reforms such as implementation of secure fishing rights (which would “end the desperate race for fish by asking fishermen and women to adhere to strict, science-based catch limits in exchange for a right to a share of the catch or to a traditional fishing area”) would help to repair damage done to our fragile ecosystem. The study also touched on the long-term economic and job market-related benefits of overhauling the fishing industry (in acknowledgment of the three billion people globally who depend on seafood as their main source of protein and the 260 million people employed in fish-related sectors), therein lending support for a cruel industry that, according to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, accounts for more than eight billion pounds of fish caught per year just in the United States alone. However, the impact these findings stand to make on the ecological devastation being wrought by current fishing practices will only help in a greater understanding of humankind’s influence on Earth’s oceans.