Overfished and under-protected: Oceans on the brink of catastrophic collapse

Story highlights

  • Healthy species-abundant oceans key to long-term human survival
  • Overfishing and climate change threaten to trash ocean ecosystem
  • Bottom-trawling considered a highly damaging practice by marine scientists
  • Ocean acidification caused by climate change threatening to kill off vital coral reefs
As the human footprint has spread, the remaining wildernesses on our planet have retreated. However, dive just a few meters below the ocean surface and you will enter a world where humans very rarely venture.
In many ways, it is the forgotten world on Earth. A ridiculous thought when you consider that oceans make up 90% of the living volume of the planet and are home to more than one million species, ranging from the largest animal on the planet -- the blue whale -- to one of the weirdest -- the blobfish.
Remoteness, however, has not left the oceans and their inhabitants unaffected by humans, with overfishing, climate change and pollution destabilizing marine environments across the world.
Many marine scientists consider overfishing to be the greatest of these threats. The Census of Marine Life, a decade-long international survey of ocean life completed in 2010, estimated that 90% of the big fish had disappeared from the world's oceans, victims primarily of overfishing.
Tens of thousands of