NEW research suggests that populations of mighty oceanic fish such as marlin, cod and shark have crashed by 80 per cent in the last 20 years.

The Canadian scientists involved believe that industrial commercial over-fishing is the clear cause, and that there is still little or no management of stocks or consideration of the future.

These are the conclusions of studies by R. Myers and B. Worm of the University of Dalhousie (Canada).
The two researchers used catch data from fishing vessels worldwide to arrive at the conclusion that stocks of  marlin, cod, halibut, ray, tuna and shark have fallen by between 80 and 90 per cent since the early 1980s. This decrease is an overall trend and concerns all species and all fishing zones.

What’s more, the few blue marlin which are left do not have much hope of reaching the size of their forebears of the 1950s and often they do not even have time to reproduce once before they are caught. Anglers are not blamed in any way and indeed the researchers conclude that it is the leisure fishing that has largely contributed to the creation of protected zones which give fish time to reproduce.