Not all fish populations are declining, but almost all of the commercially desirable ones are, due to overfishing, loss of habitat, effects of global warming and other factors. Overfishing is a serious problem in the world. Not only are stocks of fish disappearing, but there’s an economic factor as well: the world’s fishing industry is losing $50 billion a year from overfishing. Particularly at risk are deep sea fish, which grow very slowly and take a long time to get to maturity; one pass with a 15-ton trawling net and entire habitats can be annihilated for decades. Ironically one species of fish is benefiting from overfishing: jellyfish populations have exploded in recent years as the other fish they used to compete with are dwindling in numbers. Movements to promote sustainable seafood, to end government subsidies for fishing industries and national or international quotas on catches have some utility, but these fixes may be limited in their ability to help fish populations recover. Fish farming is being developed for some species as an alternative to catching in the wild, but it will take great amounts of investment before fish farms exist on a scale large enough to make a significant dent in the depletion of fish in the oceans of the world.
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