Towards responsible and sustainable fisheries

A billion people dependent on fish in the world  |  From years of  “miraculous fishing” to stock collapse  |  An unlikely return to initial state  |  Impacts
of fisheries on the marine ecosystem as a whole
  |  A worrisome reduction
in fish size
  |  Dynamics of exploitation systems  |  Towards
responsible and sustainable fisheries
  |  The Centre de Recherche
Halieutique Méditerranéenne et Tropicale

From years of  “miraculous fishing” to stock collapse

Although the oceans were considered inexhaustible in the last century, many fisheries today show signs of senescence. A brief history of fisheries gives the measure of the problem. The 1950s marked the beginning of a very rapid increase in fishery activity. During the 1950s and 1960s, the enormous global expansion of fishery effort and power was coupled with ever-growing catches, at a rate so rapid that they tended to exceed population growth. In the space of two decades, world production of continental and marine catches was multiplied three-fold, from 18 million tons in 1950 to 56 million tons in 1969. During these miracle years of fishing, marine resources were thought to be inexhaustible. Then, over the 70s and 80s, average growth rates fell to 2% per year, and then to practically zero during the 90s and ever since, while the number of boats and their efficiency has continued to rise. In the space of two decades, world production of continental and marine catches has been multiplied by three, from 18 million tons in 1950 to 56 million tons in 1969. The same conclusion has been drawn locally and globally for commercial and artisanal fisheries alike in both the northern hemisphere and in tropical waters: the world’s fisheries seem to have reached their maximum potential, and given that three-quarters of all fish populations are fully exploited or overexploited, there will probably be no significant increases in total catches in the future.

pêcherie en mer de Java