In a study published in the journal _Nature_, co-authors Ramsom Myers and Boris Worm concluded that 90 percent of the world's large fishes have disappeared from the world's oceans over the past fifty years, attributing this phenomenon to industrial fishing. Utilizing data from the past 47 years, Myers and Worm looked at the precipitous decline in the populations of species such as tuna, marlin, and swordfish. The report noted that the largest population decline began when industrial fishing became increasingly ubiquitous in the early 1950s around the world. As Myers noted in a recent interview, "Humans have always been very good at killing big animals. Ten thousand years ago, with just some pointed sticks, humans managed to wipe out the wooly mammoth, saber tooth tigers, mastodons and giant vampire bats." While several individuals in the fishing industry took exception to the tone of the report, co-author Worm noted that there were potential solutions to the problem, including declaring certain fishing areas as "off-limits." Other experts have commented that it also makes sense for the fishing industry to investigate the expansion of aquaculture, along with a more strict adherence to conservation policies.
The first link will take visitors to an online news article from CNN.com about this recent study that contains comments from the co-authors and representatives of the fishing industry. The second link leads to the report by Myers and Worm in the most recent issue of the journal _Nature_. The third link will take visitors to a site maintained by the United Nations Division for Sustainable Development that highlights partnerships and programs developed by various countries to effectively maintain the productivity and viability of their coastlines and surrounding oceans. The fourth link leads to a nice compendium of international fishing treaties and agreements that stretches back to the 1923 Convention for the Preservation of the Halibut Treaty. The fifth link leads to the homepage of the Global Aquaculture Alliance, and contains information about ongoing projects in aquaculture around the world. The final link leads to a site devoted to providing "complete background information on every species of whale, dolphin, and porpoise," along with offering details about whale watching and the evolution of cetaceans. [KMG]