Worldwide fishing almost maxed out

Fish laid out for sale

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: I know some people take issue with this conclusion, but a report out this morning says fishing around the world is maxed out. The report comes from the environmental group Oceana. Several developing countries have a big problem with this situation. From our Sustainability Desk, Sam Eaton reports.


Sam Eaton: The report finds 85 percent of the world's fisheries is either fished to capacity or facing collapse. But as the World Trade Organization moves to eliminate subsidies to expand fishing fleets, China, India and Indonesia want an exemption. They argue they should be able grow their fleets through subsidies just as the industrialized world did.

Mike Hirshfield is Oceana's chief scientist:

Mike Hirshfield: It would be one thing if there were still more fish out there waiting to be caught. But as our study shows, there really is no room for expansion.

Hirshfield says subsidized fishing is largely to blame. Subsidies now account for about a quarter of the value of every fish caught.

He says eliminating the estimated $20 billion in fishing subsidies would make global fishing sustainable. It would also insure countries like China and India have fish to catch as they develop fleets of their own.

I'm Sam Eaton for Marketplace.

About the author

Sam Eaton is an independent radio and television journalist. His reporting on complex environmental issues from climate change to population growth has taken him all over the United States and the world.

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