The Race To Save Our Marine Fisheries

Lone fish in the sea

Empty Oceans, Empty Nets explores the marine fisheries crisis and the pioneering efforts of fishermen, scientists and communities to sustain and restore these fisheries and our oceans. An ongoing international debate surrounds the complex problems and how best to solve them. Understanding why some fisheries are thriving while most are in serious decline may be the key to averting an impending food crisis.

The program begins with a sequence of stunning images that reveal the immense volume and diversity of fish caught in a seemingly limitless ocean. From Indonesia to Japan to the Bering Sea, our cameras document an ever-growing, high-tech fishing effort that yields over a hundred million metric tons of seafood each year. These marine fisheries provide food, income and employment for 200 million people worldwide, but how long can the massive hunt be sustained?

Boat for sale

Problems & Solutions There are signs that the ocean's bounty may well have reached its biological limit. According to the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), 15 of the world's 17 major ocean fisheries are either depleted or over-exploited. A long-term, comprehensive study conducted by a team of marine scientists recently concluded that 90% of the large fish species in the world's oceans (such as tuna, swordfish and cod) have been fished out in the last 50 years. Yet the news is not all bad: Empty Oceans Empty Nets documents some of the most promising and innovative work being done to restore marine fisheries and to protect essential fish habitat. These efforts include new market initiatives that now give consumers a powerful vote in deciding how our oceans are fished.