Report: Half the World’s Fish Population Lost Since 1970

A disturbing new report from the World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London reveals that the number of fish and other aquatic animals dropped 49 percent between 1970 and 2012.

And some fish populations have been hit even harder: tunas, mackerels, and bonitos have fallen by 74 percent.

According to the research, the primary cause of the massive die-off is overfishing. Climate change, which is causing the world’s oceans to acidify and change temperature, is also a major problem.

Commercial fishing indiscriminately kills billions and billions of aquatic animals each year and about 20 percent are “by-catch,” or animals considered undesirable for consumption. As a result, 20 billion fish are thrown away like trash each year.

As for climate change, the business of raising and killing animals for food produces more greenhouse gases than all the transportation in the world combined.

With harrowing predictions that all the world’s fisheries will collapse by 2048, we truly stand at a crossroads: either we can continue down this destructive path or begin to change course.

There’s no question that leaving animals off our plates is the most powerful choice each of us can make to help fish populations rebound. Luckily, MFA’s Vegetarian Starter Guide is a free resource for anyone looking to make the switch. Order yours today.