A third of the world’s fisheries are over-exploited, up from one-tenth in the 1970s. Stocks of large fish have dwindled by 90%. Not all of this is the result of illicit activity, estimated to be worth $10bn-23bn a year; the $100bn of fish caught legally contributes to the problem. Even eliminating all subsidies, not just those which finance dodgy activities, will not on its own spare the oceanic commons from tragedy; to achieve that, other controls are necessary, such as more quotas or marine protected areas. But unregulated fishing, almost by definition, takes place where it shouldn’t: in waters already fished to their sustainable limit or, worse, beyond it.
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