The oceans supply us with food, help regulate our climate, and supply a livelihood for millions of people. Just as important, we depend on the oceans for recreation and renewal. But our seas are not the infinite bounty they appear to be. Today, no part of the oceans remains unaffected by human activities. And among the many factors influencing our ocean ecosystems, few have as great an impact as fishing.
Humans have been fishing the oceans for thousands of years. But over the past five decades technology has allowed us to fish farther, deeper and more efficiently than ever before. Scientists estimate that we have removed as much as 90 percent of the large predatory fish such as shark, swordfish and cod from the world's oceans. In 2003, the Pew Oceans Commission warned that the world's oceans are in a state of "silent collapse," threatening our food supply, marine economies, recreation and the natural legacy we leave our children.