Peter Alsop takes a harrowing look at overfishing:

What has transpired off the shores of Cape Cod is not unique. The same has occurred on coasts throughout the world. In 1988, at the peak of the output of the world’s fisheries, boats around the globe landed something on the order of 80 million tons of fish. Since then, depending upon which numbers you believe, the world’s annual catch has either plateaued or fallen by as much as 500,000 tons a year.

[...]The demise of commercial fishing is beyond the limits of even our darkest environmental imaginations. And yet the evidence of the ocean’s diminishment is everywhere. Leaving aside the legitimate concerns of conservationists, the possibility of a broad fish collapse is harrowing for other reasons. At a time when we are mired in a global food crisis, nearly 1.5 billion people depend upon the sea as a source of food or income. The destabilizing effect of such a collapse would be tremendous, bringing communities and countries into conflict over a resource we once considered boundless. It is fair to say that the endgame has begun.

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