Is it time to close the high seas to fishing? With more than 80% of the world’s fisheries to capacity or overexploited, is it time for a radical global solution?
The ocean covers nearly three-quarters of the surface area of our planet. As the world’s largest ecosystem, it plays a central role in supporting all life on Earth. It also provides a wide range of services and resources that directly support human health, societies and economies.
But the high seas face a cycle of declining ecosystem health and productivity. Mankind has a joint responsibility to act urgently and decisively to reverse the decline of this immense global commons—and make fishing both fairer and more sustainable.
"Oceans VR: Net positive", an immersive virtual reality experience, makes the case for limiting fishing on the high seas. By taking those that are globally curious inside the argument, we hope to give potential readers a new perspective on this serious issue.
How this related to Economist content
Demand for fish is rising: humans are each consuming 2-kg on average a year, more than ever before. So in parallel with efforts to protect wild stocks, another push is needed: to encourage the development of aquaculture, the controlled farming of fish. In 2014, for the first time, more fish were farmed for human consumption than were caught in the wild; farmed-fish output now outstrips global beef production. Unfortunately, feedstocks are often poor and storage facilities inadequate. By boosting basic research and infrastructure for aquaculture, governments could hasten a welcome trend. Eventually, efficient fish-farming will be the best guardian of stocks on the high seas.