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Report: Seafood supply will disappear in 2048

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published November 3, 2006


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WASHINGTON - Clambakes, crabcakes, swordfish steaks and even humble fish sticks could be little more than a fond memory in a few decades.

If current trends of overfishing and pollution continue, the populations of just about all seafood face collapse by 2048, a team of ecologists and economists suggests in a report in the journal Science.

"Whether we looked at tide pools or studies over the entire world's ocean, we saw the same picture emerging. In losing species we lose the productivity and stability of entire ecosystems," said the lead author, Boris Worm of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Worm and an international team spent four years analyzing 32 controlled experiments, other studies from 48 marine protected areas and global catch data from the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's database of all fish and invertebrates worldwide from 1950 to 2003. "At this point 29 percent of fish and seafood species have collapsed - that is, their catch has declined by 90 percent. It is a very clear trend, and it is accelerating," Worm said.

The researchers called for new marine reserves, better management to prevent overfishing and tighter controls on pollution.

In the 48 areas worldwide that have been protected, they found, "diversity of species recovered dramatically."

The National Fisheries Institute, a trade association for the seafood industry, does not share the researchers alarm.

"By developing new technologies that capture target species more efficiently and result in less impact on other species or the environment, we are helping to ensure our industry does not adversely affect surrounding ecosystems," the institute said in a statement.

[Last modified November 3, 2006, 02:02:13]


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