Real Reporting on the Future of Seafood

For years an erroneous statistic made the rounds of both causal conversation and main-stream media reporting. It said the world’s oceans would be emptied of fish by the year 2048.  The statistic was patently wrong and had even been debunked in published, peer-reviewed literature by its original author. But writers, reporters, editors and producers continued to use it because sound-bite science, even if wrong, is so often an easier sell.

Since 2009 a slow and steady drumbeat has chipped away at this harmfully inaccurate misinformation. Righting earlier reporting NBC proclaimed, “crab cakes and fish sticks won’t be disappearing after all,” while the New York Times wrote, “can we have our fish and eat it too?… the answer may be yes.”

Now, all these years later an accurate, science-based narrative is finally helping the media come full circle. The latest science shows not an empty ocean by 2048 but quite the opposite. National Geographic begins its report this way:

  • “After decades of declines, most of the world’s fish populations could recover in just ten years, while fishermen make more money at the same time, scientists reported in a new study published Monday.”
  • “By 2050, global fish populations could double if all countries switched to the best management practices.”

The hand wringing and hyperbole associated with empty oceans has made for compelling press but the plain and simple facts are quite different and are finally getting their day.

We suggest reading the National Geographic article, “How Our Favorite Fish Could Recover in a Decade.”