From the 11th century onwards, overuse has led to the destruction of local and regional ecosystems, resulting in a considerable reduction of stocks in fish and marine mammals. Once depleting a specific ecosystem, the fisheries moved on to unspoilt areas – from Europe to the Americas; the North Atlantic; the Pacific – leaving devastation in their wake. There have been plenty of early warning signs, starting in the 14th century, and by the mid 19th century there were already fierce discussions about the destruction caused by bottom trawling. However, as today, economic arguments outweighed any precautionary approach. We have now reached a point in time where business cannot continue going on “as usual”. With almost no technological and geographical limits left by the beginning of the 21st century, the fisheries crises has turned into a global threat to the oceans.
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