Page last updated at 10:33 GMT, Monday, 15 September 2008 11:33 UK

The plight of the bluefin

Ted Danson
VIEWPOINT
Ted Danson

The Atlantic bluefin tuna is a magnificent creature in a desperate plight, says Ted Danson. It may be possible to save it - but what about the wider issue of our overfished oceans?

Bluefin tuna
The 100 km/h bluefin are "tigers of the sea"

I'm an actor, but ocean issues have been important to me for a big part of my life.

I became involved in the mid-1980s when I took my daughters to the beach, only to find it had been closed for swimming as a result of pollution.

Since then, I've spent the last 20-plus years as an ocean advocate, working with Oceana (and its predecessor organisation) to help in its efforts to restore the oceans to vitality and health.

I am on Oceana's board of directors.

One thing I learned early on is that pollution isn't the biggest problem facing the oceans, though it is certainly important.

It's abundantly clear to me that overfishing is pushing our oceans towards an irreversible collapse

It's overfishing. We're just taking too many fish out of the sea.

Since 1950, 90% of the big predator fish - your swordfish, your shark - have disappeared.

This summer, Oceana launched a new campaign and a new research boat, the MarViva Med, dedicated to saving the northern bluefin tuna, or Thunnus thynnus.

This is your elite fish, the kind that sells for $100 per pound (125 per kg) or more in Japanese fish markets.

Unfortunately for the bluefin, it's not only one of the world's most coveted seafood species - it's also one of the most threatened.

Since the mid-1990s, tuna populations have spiralled downward, and scientists warn that an immediate moratorium on fishing is the only way to avoid an irreversible collapse.

In June, the European Union closed the bluefin tuna season for most ships two weeks early, but that's only a stop-gap measure.

Time is running out to save these sleek and powerful fish.

Tiger tamed

Conservationists often refer to the bluefin tuna as the "tiger of the sea", but in truth a mature bluefin outweighs, outgrows and outpaces even the heftiest wild cat.

Bluefin can weigh up to 1,400lbs (635kg) and measure 15ft (5m) long, and can sustain bursts of speed up to 60 mph (100 km/h) in pursuit of prey.

Warm-blooded, they migrate across oceans, and females produce up to 30 million eggs each spawning season.

Hundred metre long tuna sushi at restaurant opening
In recent years, sushi and sashimi have exploded in popularity

Bluefin tuna have fascinated and fed humans for ages. The first evidence of bluefin fishing in the Mediterranean dates to the 7th Millennium BCE when the Phoenicians established fisheries using hand-lines and primitive seine nets.

Aristotle studied tuna in his History of Animals, written in 350 BCE, and contended that the enormous fish gorged for two years before bursting from overeating.

Four hundred years later, Pliny the Elder recommended eating tuna to treat ulcers, suggesting the neck, belly and throat as the finest pieces that must be eaten fresh even though "they cause severe fits of flatulence".

But it wasn't until the late 20th Century that that tuna became a global business.

In recent years, sushi and sashimi have exploded in popularity in Japan and around the world, and consumers tout the fatty flesh of the bluefin as the most prized meat.

Purse seine ships, which close drawstring nets around schooling fish, became larger and more sophisticated, and fattening cages dotted the seas starting in 1996.

These cages, which can measure 50m (165ft) across, may represent the biggest threat to bluefin survival.

Tuna, often juvenile, are captured and dumped in the cages - or "ranches" - for months to fatten up, with all the associated problems of aquaculture: disease, waste and overfishing of the smaller fish used to feed the bluefin.

Fishing for giant bluefin has become hugely profitable.

In the 1960s, its meat sold in the US for seven cents a pound. This season, the first bluefin sold in Taiwan netted $105 a pound.

Quota of ignorance

Despite this booming business, we barely understand how tuna populations work.

Several bluefin fisheries have cropped up in the Atlantic, only to collapse within a few years. The North Sea fishery collapsed in 1963, and a Brazilian fishery appeared in the early '60s only to vanish by 1967.

No-one knows why.

Purse seine net
Purse seine fishing has been restricted in the Mediterranean - but not by enough

Current catch quotas set by the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (Iccat) are nearly impossible to enforce, as fewer than 5% of catches have been sampled independently in the last decade.

Some conservationists estimate that the fishing industry took 50,000 tonnes of bluefin from the Mediterranean by mid-June of this year - and the quota was set at 28,500 tonnes.

Iccat has set a declining quota for Atlantic bluefin over the next few years as part of a 15-year recovery plan, reducing the total allowable catch to 25,500 tonnes in 2010.

But it isn't enough. Bluefin need a generational breather to prevent total collapse.

In the meantime, the data gathered by researchers aboard Oceana's MarViva Med tells us that the quotas that are in place are not effectively enforced and are ignored by the tuna fleet.

Even as a lay person, not a scientist, it's abundantly clear to me that overfishing is pushing our oceans towards an irreversible collapse.

Bluefin tuna is just one species that's already at the brink of extinction. We can bring the tuna back, but only if we act now.

Ted Danson is an Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning actor who has appeared in more than 25 films. He is a founder and board member of Oceana, which researches and campaigns on marine issues

The Green Room is a series of opinion articles on environmental issues running weekly on the BBC News website


Do you agree with Ted Danson? Is over-fishing the worst problem facing the health of the oceans and the life in them? Do species such as the bluefin need urgent protection? Or should fishermen be left to their own devices to catch what they will?

I am quite amazed by how ignorant the general public are regarding fishing matters, the sound bite in the Ted Danson article sounds logical enough, but look underneath the surface and try to expose some of the real issues, especially with regard to what the EU has done.
David, Atyrau Kazakhstan

The answer to saving the bluefin tuna is to ban the fishing of it 100%. Would we miss buying a tin of tuna at the supermarket if it were not there? I don't think so. People walk around supermarkets and pick things from shelves often at random, when was the last time you said I really, really want to eat a tuna steak and went out and bought one?. Except for such food items as bread, potatoes, rice etc, most people buy food on a whim, they see it and think I'll try that, or we could have that for a change. If a particular food were not available then it would not occure to us to ask or look for it. We the human species have been exploiting the worlds resources more and more since the industrial revolution of the 1800's, buying and aquiring things including food items which are made available to purchase and aquire by the industrial complex, and we will continue to do so unabaited until the resource no longer exists, or until there occurs a natural catastropie of such propo!

rtions that it deletes the worlds ever growing population to such an extent that all major industry, including the fishing industry collapses. Good for Ted Danson to put his name to a very worthy project but I fear without the support of governments world wide, the bluefin tuna along with several species of whales and shark will eventually become extinct. After all, species that most of the worlds population don't even know exist become extinct every day. How long before it's our turn?
Ken Donovan, Germany

It is sad to see that by-catch is disgarded, as it isn't profitable, yet realistically speaking, that DEAD food could feed many mouths!

So sad that all the wrongs in our world all seem to relate back to short term profit, and not long term sustainability of the planet.

People its obviously clear that policticians and governments across the world do not give a dam about the problem, they are far more interested in protecting their disproportionate way of life.

So perhaps now is the time for the PEOPLE of the planet to come together, and for us to unite and DEMAND change from the governments who are continually in bed with big business?
Karl Moyse, Perth, Western Australia

As a retired part time commercial fisherman and having lived in AK and now in Mex. I am appalled at the continued pollution and over-fishing of the worlds great oceans and the life within, I agree, over population of man is the most serious threat to our world, and is the cause of the wars that we are experiencing, the illness's, the pollution, and the loss of wildlife.
Irene A Lee, Lo de Marcos, Nayarit, Mexico

Ted is right on!

Very impressed with his knowledge about the environment and fish!
roop, Toronto, Canada

Great stuff Mr Danson! Great, but terrible too. Only in that it's incredibly sad that he's having to make this appeal at a time when more and more people the world over are tucking into tuna because "Oooh, Japanese food is cool!" or "Yo! Sushi! It's healthy" or (on supermarket fish labels) "One of your 3 a week"... when there's such a desperate need to cut back!

And I must admit, as a recent "vegetarian" who still eats fish, I'm finding it very hard to do the right thing.

I've known about the plight of cod and tuna for a long time now though, so I never eat them. Oh, and you might want to avoid Patagonian toothfish (Chilean sea bass) and orange ruffy ... Deep sea fish with long life cycles that are probably even more endangered than the blue-fin tuna.
Ross Marnie, Glasgow, Scotland

I agree completly...we as a species have taken advantage of the oceans and treated the waters as a giant trash can for everything we don't want. Give the oceans a break let fish stocks rebound (hopefully) and take a much more serious look at a long term fish quota plan.
Samuel Tune, Sonora, United States of america

The obvious problem that everyone downplays but if not solved will doom all creatures, ecosystems and resources, is humankind's continuing population explosion. This is the clear, simple, and rarely expressed common sense reason for less fish in the sea, less birds in the air, less gorillas in the forests. Unbridled reproduction and the unintended consequence of further planetary degradation can only be reversed if there are less human fingers in the global pie.
Lyza Herman, San Diego CA United States

How silly that we give credence to entertainment figures as if they were truly experts in anything other that acting, singing, etc. He has no right to speak on this subject than I do, but because of his notoriety he gets publish on the BBC.
Martin Koch, San Diego USA

As others above have said and I have tried to get Horizon to produce an episode on over population nobody wants to tackle it.Eventually it will serve humanity right that there is greater starvation and wars over survival.Above,lots have said it, but "Our Leaders" (?!!!!!)cling to office and make no meaningful decisions and for that matter neither does the BBC,as since the Hutton Report it has lost all its guts for being controversial and doing some meaningful.
Ian Max, Maidenhead,Bucks

@David Everington: Tuna are indeed warm-blooded, along with other fish species.
Rui Brito, Berkeley, CA, USA

One day there won't be any fish left. And there won't be enough land to waste growing food for enough animals to feed the population of this planet. At that point, either we stop eating animals or we start dying. Actually that day was some time ago, wasn't it? When will those of us lucky (rich) enough to have enough food to waste on animals realise that we are killing our fellow humans too by our greed? Or do we know, but just don't care?
Andrew, Oxford, UK

Go back to Cheers and and leave the world's balance of food and nature to the only one who knows exactly what it needs- GOD

Terrifying - no doubt you will vote for Sarah Palin with the view that she will do God's work. Perhaps you could ask her to hold a prayer meeting to save the tuna. If that works you might want to try on the rest of the world. Wake up. God helps he who helps himself!
BVP, London and Tehran

As a Master Scuba Diver Trainer I have seen the sharp decline in Biodiversity in the World Oceans. This is at a critical stage now and requires drastic action one of which needs to be.. WE (G8 countries) should declare a Moratorium on ALL commercial Fishing in the world's oceans. To be enforced by UN thru NATO, African Congress, China, Japan ,Russia etc.. With no exceptions to the Moratorium. Which will hopefully remove the Flag of convenience issue. The Sea is a self sustaining resource as long as we use prudence in harvesting it and stop using it as waste disposal site. We can fix this now!
Paul Levere, East Sussex

I could not agree any more with Mr Dawson. Here in Ireland we have a 2 fish limit on anglers catching Bass, all well and good you might think, but no. Whilst anglers observe the linits and keep the one month closed seasom, those who poach the fish take all they can net, all year round. The seas cannot be raped in the way the are and the well being of their ihabatants taken for granted.

I also agree with some of the respondents here, that the world is very much overpopulated and that is the real reason for global warming. All the animals that we rear for out diet are producing far more greenhouse gasses than all the cars, trucke, boats and planes do. I am sure that mother nature will, as is evidenced by global warning, thin out theworlds population, one way or the other. Regards Wez
Wez Booth, Killarney, Co Kerry, Ireland

Many people have pointed out that the real culprit here is our overpopulation. I believe this may be part of the reason, but a bigger culprit in all thing environmental is technology.

I would suspect most of the increased consumption, is coming from Western Country's, and not from the traditionally over populated third world.

I think technology has led to a "democratization", whereby things that were formerly expensive and were solely a privilege of the rich, are now available to all.
PB, San Diego, CA

This is an ongoing problem for many species of fish. Sharks and rays included.

The sad fact of the matter, there is more money involved in the fishing then there is in the rescue of the species. Only when those tides have changed will a diffrence ever be made.

I gave up Sushi.
A Mind In Seattle, Seattle, WA

Fishermen rape and pillage OUR oceans for their own selfish greed. They are totally incapable of policing themselves. I live in Bermuda and its a small place. There are not that many commercial fishermen, but they still could not regulate themselves. They kept saying "there's no shortage of fish, but at the same time, they were selling parrot fish (filleted to disguise), because they completely overfished the reefs with massive numbers of fishpots. About 15 years ago a fishpot ban was introduced in Bermuda and parts of the reef system were set aside as breeding grounds. The fishermen were furious, but the law stood. Its taken all this time for the fish population to start to recover but there is still a long way to go. There are some fishermen out there using illegal fishpots, but if caught, hefty fines are imposed. Bermuda is a good example that our oceans can be saved but it will take strict regulations, harsh punishments for offenders and much reduced quotas.

There also has to be regulations regarding the type of equipment and nets that are used. All the fishing nations, when they are fishing outside their own territorial waters, should be strictly controlled. This is a world problem and Governments of the world should be policing international waters. Oh, and when they see barbarians finning sharks - sink them!!!
Annie Sousa, Hamilton Bermuda

I agree wholeheartedly with Ted's sentiments but there will be many who will argue that we should not interfere & leave fishermen to their own devices, letting natural selection of species take it's course. I suggest that this is yet another example of humankind failing to recognise their relationship & place in the whole complex web of life and we, including myself, will need to change our behaviour if this is to change.
Mike Poyzer, Nottingham, UK

Is it time to go vegan yet?
Graham Neale, London

Mr Danson is right, and the ocean is not the only area requiring conservation. I think we have to stop measuring our actions in terms of "profits" and "economics" and instead focus on the fact that if we destroy our environment, not only will our businesses suffer, we may end up with nothing at all. I would like to see large areas of land and sea designated as human "no-go" areas (not even scientists) in order to free these areas from our influence entirely.
S Hadland, Reading, Oxon

I am a Scuba Diver and it astonishes me every time i come across an article such as this, the extent of ignorance the general public still seems to have regarding fishing. When you have the incredible opportunity to watch tuna shoals hunt in the wild it is impossible to imagine such a graceful and skillful hunter being sold in tins... Something drastic needs to be done to protect not only tuna but the entire marine ecosystem. It is the responsibility of every consumer to think before you buy fish.
Pete Bray, Stoke on Trent, England

Stop eating animals and you'll be part of the solution rather than the problem.
Me, Bath, UK

I agree with Ted Danson. I agree with almost all the other letters and their content, except the one which states Ted Danson should only act as that is his career.Any person, whatever their profession, has a right to feel passionately about a subject they believe is worthy of supporting.The fact he is an Actor does not detract from the message he is conveying and that is we are over fishing, over greedy and over ruling most other species on this planet.
Jan, Alkham, Dover, Kent UK

So many passionate people have commented - echoing my own feelings. The awful depressing thing is that depsite the strength of feeling out there, as with all issues environmental there appears to be complete inertia of the human race to actually do anything about it before it is too late. Well, it would not be profitable or persuade voters would it? And as for population, how many people are actually willing to make a conscious decision to have no or fewer children than they might like?

Is it possible to overcome our selfish nature - en masse?
R Gill, Oxford, UK

Surely, these creatures are fish and cannot be warm blooded as stated in this article, can they?
David Everington, Shrewsbury, England

Yes, of course it is over use of a renewable resource. No politicians have the will to endure the job losses. Yes, of course there will be no fishing jobs in the future if nothing is done. Prime example: Canada Atlantic Cod Fishery. Year after year, scientists warned the quotas were too high. But this was always pressured off by unions or people crying about a few thousand jobs. Well, now the entire industry, over 40 000 people who used to be employed by the cod fisheries, are still waiting. Over 35 years since they closed the cod fisheries and banned direct fishing of cod, all cod fishing zones are still listed as 'commercially extinct'. Now there is nothing and various factors have stopped the stocks from recovering, they may never. Instead of having the retrain 40000, it could have been 10-20000 and the lives of many could remain as it was for generations.
Rob, Toronto, Canada

The problem is real and I applaud Ted Danson for his story, but this problem is not reported enough. It is a major ecological problem that rarely hits the headlines.

Many people are Vegetarians and lots of people pity the plight of the poor animal, but that plight of the fish is even worse. There is no danger of the Cow, Sheep or Pig becoming extinct.

I haven't eaten fish for 9 years because of this issue, and it annoys me when people say I am a "vegetarian" but I eat fish.

We are in danger of losing some of the most magnificent creatures on the planet forever.

This story should be headline news ,not an also ran story at the bottom of the page.
Alison Trace, London

Overfishing is a global problem, and we are as guilty in the UK as any other part of the world. Our cod stocks have been decimated since the 70s, and I have to agree that government enforcement of existing laws is urgently required. The number of fish landed in UK waters gives no indication of the vast amounts of discarded by-catch, thrown back into our waters dead. Not only fishermen, but the general public need to be educated regarding sustainable fisheries, and encouraging people to choose the right types of fish in supermarkets and restaurants.

That we are becoming more conscious of the damage done to our global environment, yet live in a country where 75% of the fish we catch is exported, and 75% of the fish we eat is imported is unbelievable.

I agree that no take zones are a sensible way forward, giving sanctuary to our fish stocks and providing essential nursery grounds for stock recovery.
Emma Gorman, Glasgow

Ted Danson is absolutely correct in his assumptions. The continued effects of greed and selfishness, the apathy of governments whose only goal is to remain in power and the mindless exponential rate of human reproduction will finally drive the human race to self extinction.

Ted's issue with overfishing is just one of the hundreds of issues that are not being faced by the nations and leaders of the world.

It has been predicted that the next global conflict (WW3) will be triggered by a shortage of either food, drinking water, shelter or fuel.....perhaps even all four similtaneously.

Modern medicine and science strive to extend human life for as long as possible. In ancient times, nature pretty much controlled human population growth and also taught humans to have a deep respect for the natural resources neccessary to sustain their lives. Modern man now lives in a false and unnatural world, where the term "hunting and gathering" jokingly implies driving to the supermarket, often to spend plastic money.

Sadly most of us lack the courage and the will to make real and lasting change of our own volition. But never mind, nature will eventually do it for us.
Richard Westlake, Witham St Hughs Lincolnshire

Cheers for Ted!
Magnus, Derby, UK

Let me tell you a story about a man who owned a fishing boat. Because the EU thought it was a good idea to reduce the number of boats catching fish (to preserve fish stocks) they gave the man (and others like him) a lot of money to de-commision his boat and stop him fishing. Sounds really good, eh? But the man was smart and used the money to build a new boat which he fitted out with some of the expensive parts from his old boat (like the engine etc). Then he carried on fishing. So don't think beaurocrats (especially EU ones) are going to achieve anything, but someone sure as hell needs to (and yes, the story really is true!).
Andy, Inverness

The current state of fishing is that of highly experienced hunters chasing diminishing stocks - its like hunting wild boar out of existence.

The sooner the whole world understands that the seas should be about farming and husbandry the better.

Do we want to kill every species in the next ten years or do we want a continued food supply?

The whole worldwide fishing industry is back in the bronze age- the seas can supply more food than we need , but only by looking after the livestock.
Peter Dixon, North Shields, England

What I want to know is how they want to establish a moratorium on fishing. In a commercial operation it is extremely wastefull because you kill undersize fish that cannot be caught legally. The alternative is no fish at all and as we all know the vitamins in fish are extremly nutritious to us. Persnally having watched these fishingh series like " the deadliest Catch" it brings home the commercial demands made on fishermen which are just not reasonable. Perhaps we should go back to line fishing which would mean that the take is dramatically reduced. The only other option is for an increase in farm fish but you can only do that with specific species but it worked well in the middle ages.
Tony Jackson, Welling Kent

Why do we think that because someone is an actor or musician (or other celebrity) that suddenly they are a world expert on ? Don't we have any real experts we can consult with?
Sean Haffey, Hook Hants

I think it was in 1993 that Mr Danson appeared on a talk show in the US, warning about a collapse of the oceans eco-systems (whatever they are supposed to be) by the turn of the millennium, Fifteen years later he is still playing the same sob song. He can believe whatever he wants to believe, but why does the BBC give these people the space?
Terry Aherne, Birmingham

It is a sin to kill a fish like a bluefin tuna, equatable to killing a lion or a tiger. They live for decades, reproduce slowly and are a top level predator.

People who glorify eating them should be disgusted with themselves. A plague of intestinal parasites on all you sashimi eaters out there!
Joel Mitchell, Bath, UK

Uhhuh. Look everyone, HOW do you expect our governments to unite to save bluefin tuna?

The ONLY time we unite is to kill another similarly sized group of people we believe to be loonies - e.g. WW2

Our countries aren't uniting to save themselves from pollution and global climatic shift, so anyone seriously expecting any action is at best hopelessly optimistic, IMO.

I wish it were otherwise, but since humans are unable to control their population, partly due to toxis memes known as religions which parasitise the minds of many of our species, we will continue to grow in number until all non-human life will be ousted unless it serves some useful (like profitable) purpose.

I really hope I'm wrong.

But I'll plan on being right.
oneeyedman, kingdom of the blind

The bluefin should be placed on the CITES register and trade in the species outlawed.
Des Stockton, Wickford, Essex

unfortunately, it needs an actor or some other celeb to get the message over. We here a big upcry about the fisherman in the north-east of scotland but knowing a few of them myself, they're more than happy to strip the seas bare so they can buy their big stupid show-off cars. On a day when more greedy, greedy people are highlighted with the despair at the banks. We really need some new form of leadership
Keith, aberdeen

Of course Mr Danson is right (amazing for an actor eh Eddie from Oswestry??). Overfishing of the Newfoundland cod banks killed the industry in Eastern Canada and it still hasn't recovered to this day. What was left is an economic wasteland that cannot recover. But, we keep talking about regulating the fishing industry when what we should be doing is regulating our buying power. Fishing is a business. If there was no demand, there'd be no business. We, and not governments, have the true power to change this.

Walk into any fish n chip shop in the UK and 99.99% of customers ask for Cod even though it is well known that cod is at dangerously low levels. They could chose haddock or any other fish (and I doubt they could tell the difference taste wise) but they continue to demand cod. Incidentally, very few chippers can manage to stock cod and you are probably getting pollack without being told.

We need to diversify the sea food we eat and take the pressure of a tiny minority of species in the oceans. There are many untouched species which could meet our demand for seafood. Similarly, we need to utilise methods of fishing that only catch the species required and don't destroy everything else in the attempt.
James, Nottingham

Ted Danson is right. The fishing industry needs to be restructured. There should be a moratorium on catching Tuna, Cod and other endangered species. The barbaric nets which scrape every living thing off the sea bed should be stopped for ever. There should be a number of no take zones at regular intervals with dracopnian power to seize fishing vessels which encroach on these areas. If we kill off our seas and oceans you will kill off the lungs of the Earth. There is a balance in the oceans which we disrupt at our peril.
David Lawrence, Telford

People should follow the example set by Muslims and consume less, especially during Ramadan. Of the 6000 or so verses in the Holy Quran over 750 are dedicated to the environment. Our current lifestyle is simply unsustainable.
Dr Asaf Bashir, London

While I agree that overfishing isn't prudent, far too many people are viewing these extinctions as exceptional. There have been many incidents in the history of the planet of mass extinctions caused by a particular organism. I don't see anyone complaining about how unfair it was when blue-green algae first evolved and became dominant. Huge numbers of people rely on fish to live, and I'll note the majority of people commenting are from industrialised nations where land-based produce is plentiful. Interestingly if the Imperial Powers were still around, it is quite possible their navies could easily enforce a reduction in fishing, but alas, the modern hysteria over 'Imperialism' has curtailed any chance for a real global crackdown.
David, Gloucester

How sad to see the world we all live in being destroyed by capitalists, has the time not come for the ordinary man to stand up and be counted. Ted Danson is of course correct but he is only a voice in the wilderness and from where I am standing a very lonely one at that. Is this not our world are we going to be lead like sheep to the slaughter while the rich get richer and of course the poor get poorer. I wish I were Ted Danson because I would use that influence to bombard every newspaper and every radio and tv station with the news that unless we all act today there will be no tomorrow, that is one fact I am certain of.
Derek Briscoe, Banbridge Northern Ireland

The free market model that largely drives today's fishing fleets will not allow fishing to stop as long as any unencumbered 'capital' remains to be 'realised'. The crude market assessment (an insufficient single-pole single-iteration feedback loop) is that the fish stocks are essentially free to take, worth more in the factory today than in the ocean today, so they should be removed as fast as the market can consume. The replenishment rate for most ocean species (typically 1% to 4% per annum, max) is generally lower than economic gains to be made on other investments, so the 'rational' approach (classic Orwellian doublespeak) is to liberate the capital, and re-invest the profits elsewhere.

I'll stop fishing if he stops acting
Jeff, Newport,Wales

I believe that it is not just the blue fin Tuna that is disappearing but a lot of other kind of fish. I have been diving all year round for these last 35 years or more and noticed various phenomena. In the late 70's ,early 80's the urchins and fish in the sea around Malta had vanished and this persisted for several years.Another thing I remember for sure is that the sea was extremely cold.It was so cold that after a dive I had to wait till I could move my hand and fingers freely before I could ride my bike.I used to put the blame on the fishermen because they were putting nets close to the shore but when the fishermen were engaged in the fishing of the dolphin fish, away from land the fish never came ashore. The sea started repopulating by itself. At the moment we are experiencing the same thing.I believe that the major cause of the decrease in fish is the global heating, to which each and every one of us is contributing. Overfishing is another surely another cause. This had became uncontrollable due to the fact that almost every one can fish where ever he likes and a country can hardly be responsible for the fishing that is being done in its territory. I believe that one should stick to his native country and the non territorial waters should be left for the fish and the Merchant Navy. The Mediterranean has become an international fishing pond at the expense of a small nation like Malta.
Francis Buhagiar, Safi Malta

The stupidity of man is unstoppable. We will continue to take until there is nothing left and then we will lament our lot.
Fabian Schonholz, Thousand Oaks, CA, USA

When Man has killed and eaten everything that we would traditionally eaten, what will be left for us to eat next? Soylent Green?

(if you haven't read the book or seen the film, that's food made from dead people)
Arthur Adams, Warrington, UK

The problem is there are too many people in the world.
Oliver, Reading

We speak of governments of all fishing nations adhering to a plan; but agreement among a multitude of nations has never happened in history as far as I know, and is unlikely still. However, if unhindered, individual skippers will fish the seas to extinction. Quotas and monitoring are problematic too. I believe the World's consumers must shoulder responsibility, therefore campaigns for international awareness and boycotting may be the only practical course.
keith mitchell, dunfermline

Humans are on the verge of extinction themselves. Overfishing , overfarming , overpopulation .... the dinosaurs had none of these problems to contend with and survived on Earth for millions of years. In two million years, we have managed to outdo our jurassic precursors. The work of very few against the tide of many is helpful in a very small way. It's futile to believe that doing anything now is going to stop the inevitable. We can only all be aware of these problems and hope for the best for future generations - if there are any.
Brett Hakaraia, Sydney , Australia

over fishing is the result of human greed!money makes the word to function but how about making fishing illegal for six months of the year.surely that would make a positive impact on fish stocks.i fully support mr.danson and others in their efforts to make a difference.
hamid baharestani, london_uk

No more than about 5 year ago one could catch a feed of Prawns in the Swan River in Perth. Today you are lucky to see a prawn. Now in Mandurah the Crabs are just about finished and for years people have been fined thousands of Dollars for taking over the "legal limit or undersized crabs" It is happening everywhere with all fish life, take the Japanese with their Whale Killing. They also catch sharks , cut the fins off and throw them back in the sea to make Shark Fin Soup
Jeff Keen, Mandurah West Australia

Of course, something needs to be done urgently to preserve our oceans and all whi depend on them for their survival.

It's not practical to ban all fishing, even for a few months, let alone years. Fishermen have a hard enough time trying to earn a living.

I suggest that 'no fishing grounds' are established, to allow fish stocks to grow unimpeded. With modern navigational equipment, such as GPS, it would be easy to ban fishing in areas set aside for breeding. With international cooperation and technology, it would be relatively easy to police such a system. Boats caught fishing illegally should be subject to severe penalties to ensure the success of the scheme.

Fishermen would not then be put out of work, rather would benefit from improved stocks.
David Brann, Poole

I totally agree with Ted Danson and looking at the posts here is clear that the vast majority also agree whole heartedly. However, what can we do to prevent the over fishing of our Oceans? We could stop buying fish, but that would have to extend to all fish products fresh or frozen and as a public we would have to stand united. I think ultimately our governments and the people we elect to make these decisions for us should ban fishing so that we as a general public have no choice while the sea re-stocks itself.
Jim, London

One of the problems is Quotas .If fish over quota or the wrong sort are caught they are dumped back in the sea dead .The quota should be fish caught so when a weight quota is on board the boat stops fishing even if the catch is of low value.
GRAHAM EDLIN, london

In Canada there are too few fisheries enforcement officers to stop the overfishing, thus the quota system is just an honor system. Many captains will take their quota twice and sell the catch over the side to factory ships, before filling their hold for a third time and heading to port. The captain keeps half of the money for the illegal catch and the other half is split amongst the crew. This is common practice, or was until fish stocks were severely depleted.

I hope rising fuel costs will make fishing for a living less attractive. This could help to replenish fish stocks, but it could go the other way because of more offshore oil drilling.

I would say ghost nets and draggers are the second biggest problem.

It seems that we (man) are the locust swarm.
Carl Bagnell, Waverley, NS Canada

I agree with Mr. Danson. I am glad also to be in my fifties. I've seen the world grow and change and improve. But, still the ignorance of the past, the lust for what others have by nations who have not had certain things Americans and Euros have had is driving the Earth into an EarthAIDS thing. Japan and East Asia is growing and the people think nothing but of their selves, but I had always thought they thought better than us westerners do. I was obviously wrong. To me we are headed towards a dystopian future. Sorry Earth. D. Russell
D. Russell, Baltimore, USA

Its a worry, I marvel at the large Tuna that lived in the North sea, now long gone. It would be very sad to lose such a marvellous creatures -surely Tuna & Sharks as apex predators are important to the ecology of food chains-let alone the impoverished world it would be without them.

Keep up the good fight-Matthew.
matthew elkin, Lincoln England

Sadly it is true we the human race have misstreated our oceans for years and bringing it to the edge of ruin before even thinking about it shows as a race we the humans are a cancer om the face of this planet and if we fail to change and clean up our act this planet might well be within its rights to exterminate us as we exterminate vermin.

its time to stop fighting amongst ourselves and fighting for the planet.
delminister, truro / cornwall

Left to their own devices, Fishermen will drive fish to extinction. EU fishing quotas, which are already set too high, are not working because part of the problem is by-catch. For example, fisherman fishing for prawns may accidentally catch cod. The cod are already dead when they pull them up, but if they have reached their quota the fisherman throw them overboard. In my view, a responsible fisherman would not fish for prawns if there was a danger of by-catch. Then there are the industrial scale trawling fleets that take by-catch to a whole new level, killing everything in their path.

We need to set aside large areas of ocean as marine reserves where the fish can safely breed and recover, and other organisms like corals can be left undamaged. We also need a simple system of identifying which fish have been fished sustainably - something that has a verifiable meaning, like the Soil Association label for organic food.
Robert , London, UK

Most certainly overfishing is depleting our oceans. First we dump immense amounts of pollution into our oceans then we attempt to remove every living breathing thing from them. Is any thinking person able to believe this would have no overwhelming impact on our ability to survive on this planet? Ecosystems are delicately balanced and interdependent-if we disrupt one all others will be more or less compromised and even perhaps become unsustainable. We need to bear this in mind at all times because there is nowhere else for us to live if we trash our home planet. And even if there were, who gets to go? Not most of us. We tend to think that whatever we make wrong science will make right. Get real. Science cannot fix what we totally destroy. If loggers cut down the last of the primal forests then that's the last of them-what then? If we catch the last tuna then that's that. Period. If we so deplete the oceans that more and more interdependent species become extinct than no matter how much money you have you cannot buy what no longer exists. Wake up!! Don't spend so much money on sushi-spend your money on developing fish farms which will ensure a quality product with no impact on the oceans and most likely a nice return on your investment. Granted, you will have setbacks at the onset as these sustainable farms have not at this point had sufficient backing but once we understand these fishes needs, think of your returns! Whew! Please help if you can in any way you can. Thank you.
melissa, Lisbon, Iowa

Strongly agree that overfishing is part of a global problem causing the demise in the oceans and seas. Synergistically with pollution, habitat loss, introduced species, ocean acidification, as Jackson 2008 states we are causing a mass extinction in the ocean yet there are many people still in denial of what needs to be done.

For another good read re the blue fin tuna - 'Song for the Blue Ocean' Carl Safina

Also'An Unnatural History of the Sea' Callum Roberts

Ref Jackson J 2008 Ecological extinction and evolution in the brave new ocean PNAS Vol 105(1) pp 11458 - 11465
Melanie Gomes , N Ireland

I trained as a marine biologist in the 1980s and worked for 10 years as a consultant in this field. I have still got an abiding interest in the marine environment and unfortunately that means I know that what this bloke is saying is all too true. This does not just apply to trendy tuna stocks either; but to almost every exploited species of fish in the sea. The UK government spelt the death of the N. Atlantic/UK fish stocks in 1973 when we joined the EU. Since then there has been no effective fishery control - and that is what is needed. However we cannot blame other countries alone for the plight of fish stocks, our own fishermen fall into the trap of over-exploitation (possibly due to: commercial pressure, lack of effective control, greed, foreign competition (take your pick) that they face).

Either a very strong and bold government must step in and force fishery protection across the board - or we kiss goodbye to our fish stocks despite Ted Dansons best efforts.
phil webb, Cambridge

Fishermen are people with all of our short sighted tendencies, pressures and unwillingness to face reality. The current situation is a result of leaving them to their own devices and the reluctance of politicians to actually deal with a situation. The only solution appears to be to scale down the fishing fleets to support what might be sustainable level of fishing now and actually pay them to sit idle and/or indulge in a bare minimum of monitoring/training fishing (not the Japanese style scientific whaling) until fish stocks recover (if they do)!
Chris, Didcot

yes I agree with ted danson, we are 100% dependant on healthy seas, when it comes right down to it - even if you are for some reason skeptical, it's not a smart thing to ignore this - even if it's just a chance it were true it's not the sort of thing we should mess around with or take chances on.
Brendan Heard, dubln, ireland

I totally agree with the Ted Danson article. Their are many issues regarding overfishing and quotas. Putting back under sized dead fish is also madness. Selling these on the market would surely fill the quotas and so therefore the fishermen need not go back and take more fish. I am a keen fisherman and have a boat which I use to catch fish with my rod for the family. Rarely have I caught enough to give away to friends this summer.
Adrian Arthur, Porthleven,Cornwall,UK

Go back to Cheers and and leave the world's balance of food and nature to the only one who knows exactly what it needs- GOD
ENOUGH!, huntington beach, c a

Until the fundamental problem - that of the burgeoning human population of the planet - is solved, all attempts to tackle the other problems that stem from overpopulation - overfishing, increasing desertification, climate change, deforestation, pollution, depletion of resources generally - are about as much use as moving the deckchairs around would have been on the deck of the Titanic. So far, China is the only country in the world to have woken up to the real threat and done something about it. We urgently need to follow their example and adopt a policy of one child per couple, worldwide, now - and this policy needs to last for several generations.
John E, Southampton, U.K.

I completely agree with Ted Danson and over-fishing is one of the biggest problem.

Fishermen are completely irresponsible. Here in Europe they just dump their catch if it will not make them enough money, meaning that the whole quota system of the EU is a shambles. The worst thing is that they keep on saying that they know better then the scientists and that there is plenty of fish.

If I talk to the local people about the fish and seabirds around the island of Unst were I live, they will tell you that 50 years ago there many more seabirds and they would catch much more fish when they went out angling.

What more proof do you want?Nanning van Mulken, Baltasound Unst Shetland

Overfishing has been on a huges scale in the North Sea, Atlantic Mediterranean and Pacific for years. Greed by fishing nations has meant that, unless catches are physically monitored and boats seized if caught it will continue until no fish exist.Moreover bottom trawls ruin the seabed plants and environment
Alastair Clarke, Leamington Spa UK

Over-fishing is certainly a problem. Boats are bigger and more sophisticated and can locate specific species of fish. When beurocracy moniters this and fish quotas are adhered to tons of dead fish are thrown back into the water. This is wrong and wasteful and some other form of monitoring must be found.
Daphne Gourley, Londonderry, N. Ireland

I do agree entirely with Mr Danson, but as consumers of fish we are not as powerless as it might seem! By far and a way the best thing we can all do is to hunt down fish certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council. Like FSC timber, fish carrying the MSC blue tick label is increasingly appearing in supermarkets and restaurants and if you can't find it where you're shopping, ask why not!
Richard, Brighton

I absolutely agree. Over-fishing is a scandal. The oceans are being wrecked for short-term greed.

I heard a shocking story the other day of a fishing boat picking up on the radar a shoal of mackeral on its way to its spawning grounds. They didn't just take a percentage of the shoal - they took the lot. Before the fish had time to spawn. Where's the sense in that?

We need to set up protected reserves that will allow stocks to recover. And strictly maintain that protection. If we don't, there will soon be no fish left and that will have a knock on effect on every other creature that lives in the sea. The ocean is a fabulous resource and we are just trashing it. It has to stop... and soon.
Jane Burnett, London

I agree with Ted Danson. A total ban for two years to see if fish stocks increase and by how much is needed.
Mark Johnson, Romford, UK

Man is the ultimate predator, and we must curb our enthusiasm for slaughter.
justin roake, witney, oxfordshire

like everything else, we consume, harvest and reap- we take it all to unprecidented levels of distruction. the only answer is to have an immediate WORLD-WIDE-BAN on all types of fishing and sea-harvesting for a period of 5- 10 years. fisherman should be given support to return to the farmlands with gov.supports and incentives. supermarkets should balance thier stocks accordingly to side-step losses. all nets, whaling, dynamiting, dredging etc. NEEDS TO STOP NOW! surely we would reap the benefits in 5-10 yrs time when stocks have replenished ten-fold!!? but i guess its like the oil, the gas and the trees of this planet being rapidly consumed.. PRO-ACTIVITY IS NOT ON THE MENU!! at this point i would like to apologize to my children and thier children to come..IF we make it that far as a 'so called clever but compassionate species.'
maxwell williams, Newlyn, Penzance, UK

I totally agree with Ted Danson the human race seems to put immediate profit over sustaining a fishery with which generations could profit,living in the U.K. we see most of our species dragged off the floors of the sea with trawler nets leaving nothing but an underwater desert,why cant we fish with sensible methods.

If the tuna disappears what are these big game hunters and tuna fisheries going to do then surley it is in there interest to act now to save the business for the future.The quick buck is soon lost as we are a greedy species, maybe introduce seasons as well as quotas for most types of fish and in the extreme cases ban fishing all together when needed
Russell, Basildon,England

Totally agree, one major issue is the fact that none of the major fishing countries will consider this, as it is not possible to police the quotas which are being caught. At the end of the day it is all down to PROFIT. Until, the likes of Japan are forced to stop fishing the larger spieces of fish we will be able to help these stocks become substantial again.
Graeme Brackenbury, Beverley, East Yorkshire, England

It's not for nothing that ICCAT is also referred to as the "International Conspiracy to Catch All Tuna"!!

As with a lot of fiheries conservation, it's when the politics clashes with the science that the fish lose out and the oceans suffer.
David, Dublin, Ireland

This isn't just about over fishing. This is about over population. The resources available to us are not infinite and unless there is a global cap on population pretty soon we are going to be the creators of our own extinction.
Jon, Cumbria

Of course he's right. It's irrelevant to ask if it's the "worst" problem facing the oceans. ("Oh, only the second-worst? Well that's just fine then.") It's a huge problem, and it's caused entirely by humans: consumers who don't want to know; fishermen who are greedy, wasteful, and short-sighted; and governments too craven to enforce their already over-generous quotas.
Dushyanth Narayanan, Cambridge, UK

Mankind is not the only species existing on this planet. This planet is for everyone and in that I include every living thing not just human kind. We have to live on this planet - our only home - in co-existence with Mother Nature and not destroy and exploit without measure. If we do not reign in our greed and rising population numbers we will pay the ultimate price. On this subject then fishermen cannot be only subject to their own self-imposed restrictions because there seems to be no limit to human greed. They have to - as do we all - think of the good of all living things now and in the future.
Gillian Lambourne, Flamstead

I agree with Ted Danson, that the oceans are being over-fished.If we do not do act now, man will destroy the fish and mammals and destroy the wonderful world of the sea. Like we have destroyed much of the land, rain forests and rivers already. Our fellow creatures, have just as much rights to live and survive with us on this beautiful planet. If animals ruled the world, it would be so much better, as they live in harmony with nature, only using what they need and not destroying their own habitat.

I hate it the way people say "oh he is just like an animal" when describing some awful act a human being has done. Animals are being discredited when people say these things, it as though people, can't believe a fellow human being can destroy or harm another. Animals do not torture or war against us, they will only kill people if cornered or threatened by us. Animals do kill other species, but generally only to feed themselves or their family. I fear that we as a species only have a couple of hundred years,to survive, before we destroy each other and the world. It's incredible that the West has exploited the poorest countries for our own greed and gain, taking all the wealth, resources,and even historical treasures from these lands for our own consumption. What is the point of all this totally non essential stuff we keep making, buying, giving, selling at car boot sales, dumping at Charity shops or throwing away. People houses are stuffed full of non essential clutter and ru!

bbish, which has been made at a cost to the environment and then has to be disposed of, it's totally MAD when you stop and think about it.
Pat Shaw, Sutton, urrey, UK

Greed and commerce will, I fear, keep right on winning. Our only predators are the viruses we co-exist with and our own self-destruct tendencies. Despite these, our population skyrockets and our soft lives breed more selfishness and intolerance through our growing overcrowding. I see that fish farms have faltered and failed. Remember the Belsen-like pyres of our diseased, intensely-farmed cattle?! Nature's way of giving us a warning smack in the mouth. What chance the bluefin, et al? Well, it starts here, with your publicity and persistence of a free press to frighten our leaders enough to consider less their inflation-proof retirement packages and more continued efforts to communicate globally and fight their way through each others' politics. By the way; I've added to the population problem by fathering a magnificent son and daughter - long live the human race!
Keith Louis Lortie, Corfe Mullen, Wimborne, Dorset. UK

I agree wholeheartedly with Ted Danson. I don't want to rant and I have nothing profound to say but I did want to add my support and thanks to all of those who strive, long and thanklessly, to save me and my fellow planet dwellers from the disaster that we make it by overdoing in so many things. A Huge Thank You from me.
Jane Piper, Dunfermline, Scotland

Gross overpopulation of human beings will be the death of many fished food sources. I agree that something should be done urgently perhaps a new world power to manage all life upon this planet. Most of these problems appear to be pointing towards absolute greed without compromise, so predictable. I think it's about time someone threatend to sort it all out right now before it's just all too late with major fish stocks collapsing. One can only assume that the gov. world wide fully support these certain extinction events because it will pave the way to 'GM meat' protiens being grown in tanks for food.
M. Weeks, worcestershire uk

This problem is not going to go away easily as the demand for fish increases and the sofistication of catching them also increases. The way fish is caught is probably the biggest threat - perhaps more emphasis is needed on removing the large nets which scoop up everything and anything rather than selectively catching what is meant to be caught? How much is wasted by being thrown overboard dead already? What about the albatross numbers - work has been going on to weight the hooks differently in order to deter the albatross from drowning on the surface lying bait hooks - an idea that could be reviewed for other types of fishing?
Carolynn Jureidini, Devizes, Wiltshire, UK

I have surrported any charity that cares and fights for the well fare of animals. I feel that we as the United world, need to Protect the differnt speices of this world. The recent demise of the Yangtze river Dolphin Is just one of many marine speices that have been made extinct by the carelesness and arogance of some of our speices. If we carry on to submit our world to the violence and destruction caused by mankind then this we lead to our own demise. We have been cutting down a an area of forest in the Amazone, the size of a football pitch every minute for 30 years now. Just think of the habitate and animals we have destroyed.
Morgan Charles, Maidenhead, England

Not sure why people are still eating fish - the seas are so full of pollutants that all the larger fish are probably almost poisonous. If overfishing doesn't get them, the plastic or pollution will.

In the UK, we need a more solid act to create lots more marine reserves.
Bob Irving, Cirencester, UK

I guess we as humans are just too greedy, and the more money made from some other species the better. About time some of the RICH nations started to think of others on this planet. It'll never happen until it is too late, unless all Governments agree to do something NOW.

How likely is that? When those that want what they call a delicacy, can have it because they have the wealth and ability to go out and get it. Plain greed.
Nick Hoskinson, Havant UK

I think Ted Danson has a very strong argument for the reduction or even temporary halt to over fishing of the Bluefin Tuna. This also applies to many other kinds of fishing too. "We" as a race have taken far too much from our oceans and given back very little in return to ensure there suvival. All this for the all mighty dollar (or pound). Would it be too much to ask to employ a rotor system for global fishing. This would see fishing areas that could not be fished at certain times to allow the population to increase and not keep diminishing.
Alan Baker, Selby

If you have any interest in the long term health of our seas and sea-life then sacrifices have to be made. If fishermen or sushi lovers are unwilling to make these sacrifices then they must be forced to do so through regulation. This is called good governance - so stop stuffing your face. Consumers can help if they know more about tinned Tuna. For example is it ok to buy Yellow Fined Tuna? Are some companies or regions better to buy from than others? Is there any significance in line caught practises?
Alex, London, UK

The fish stock in all of our oceans appears to be very depleted and are worsening rapidly. We need to find an effective method of enforcing fishing quotas and the amount of fish we get from the seas so that fish populations can recover.
Ian Vout, Cheltenham, UK

Quite frankly I don't care what Ted Danson thinks unless it's related to his profession, which is acting.

Who are the mainstream media going to drag up next to join the "debate" about the climate?
Eddie, Oswestry

Over-fishing is just perhaps the most evident of the threats facing the oceans. If global warming continues on its present course there will be wholesale breakdown of ecosystems and foodchains as the seas become more acidic.

As to the cause of over-fishing; too many mouths to feed and, in common with global warming, a weak link between actions taken today and future repercussions.

If we were able to see the fish in the sea as we can the birds in the sky we'd be far more aware of the decline in their populations. Let's hope, for the sake of our children, that Ted's efforts aren't futile.
Quentin, Camberley

you dont have to be a genius or ted danson to know the problems the sea faces from over fishing. unless the fishermen take a few years off fishing in a few years there wont be anything to fish and guess what we,ll survive so whats in a year or two
kenneth watt, fraserburgh

Yes, I agree. Fishing has to be policed more effectively, and there need to be more marine reserves. Humanity doesn't understand the sea very well, and doesn't tend to find out that it is overfishing until the fish run out. Without scientific data that everyone can agree on we'll continue devastating the sea in a way that we wouldn't tolerate on land, given how the sea is hidden from our view.
Stephen Braund, Plymouth, UK

I absolutely agree. Whilst I believe the market is the most effective mechanism for regulating supply and demand in most areas, it is clearly failing in fisheries. So, indeed, are most of the controls applied by the EU. Perhaps the creation of large 'reserves' - enforced and policed - may bring back the threatened species. Other than that we will continue to push species to the brink of extinction.
Peter Dunkley, Potterspury, South Northants, England

I agree and support Ted Danson's comments. I am pleased that this issue is being highlighted and hope that something will now be done about it !
David Lowe, Manchester, England

I am a future Marine vertebrate Zoology student at Bagor University (Wales) and personally, having kept an eye on marine issues for some time, feel that the main problem facing our oceans is all of these rules not being enforced! It's all well and good to say that there is a quota on the amount of fish that can be taken from the oceans or that stunning is illegal and all that responsibility jargon but what is the point in wasting money on legislations which are not kept in practice?!?! Enforce the laws we already have and those being passed and maybe things might actually have a chance to get better!
Andrea Wijnaendts, Gloucester, England

I concur wholeheartedly with Mr Danson. It isnt' enough for us to devastate the land that we live on but it appears to me that humankind through sheer greed and not survival are also intent on destroying the very place where all life began. Due to the avarice of corporations we have all lost sight of the facts behind these overfishing methods, they are the cause of entire communities and cultures worldwide being thrown out of existence, not to mention that they are interfering with everyones lifecycle in the way that they are affecting the foodchain. A human beings diet should not be a source of unbridled profit for the few. We truly are heading towards a corporate controlled world in which we will all live in a fool's paradise if we do not heed these warnings.
Barry Winsley, Boston England

Forty years ago here in New England, one could easily fish off any beach and in the matter of a few hours, enjoy a bountiful catch for family and friends. By the mid 90s, it was not uncommon to fish for the entire day and not bring in one fish. Huge Japanese factory ships patrolled our shores, taking tons of bait fish pretty much leaving our coastline barren of all but scavenger fish. The greed of man and his relentless quest of stripping nature of all her bounty will be his eventual downfall.
Donald P. Gagnon, North Smithfield, RI, USA

I have a question for the asian market which seems intent on devastating the worlds wildlife for the sake of ego and profit, what do you turn to when all wildlife has gone? Will you you start eating each other? It's time you dicided if you want to live in a healthy diverse world or a desert. Your call
Mike Lancaster, Blackpool, Lancashire

It's good that Ted Danson has brought this issue to our attention. What can we do as individuals to help conserve the fish stocks? Is the best strategy to avoid buying fish, especially Tuna?
Richard Bates, London, UK

Our ignorance about the seas is astonishing. If cows were in the same situation, we would have turned them into a protected species long ago and would have dedicated vast resources to propping up the populations. We have over-fished so many different fish that many fishermen can't even find fish to harvest. Surely we need better international regulation, better international research, and a wider awareness that all ecosystems can be exhausted and we need to be at least as aware of what happens in our oceans as on the land. Climate change will affect our currents, this will also affect the fish and coral profoundly yet it is hardly mentioned in the climate change debate. Although I guess that is also part of the problem; we will talk about these things but we rarely do anything. The time has come to stop just talking and start being proactive about fishing, among so many other issues. We need to stop people 'sport' fishing for these marvellous animals, reduce the quotas for fisheries to a level that will allow recovery, and start being more aware of the impact of what we are putting in our mouths (or on our walls).
Susan Ardis, Salisbury, UK

Sadly some parts of the fishing industry have shown themselves very resistant to any measures to protect the fish species they rely on for their livelihood. There is irresponsible element that seeks to mine the seas rather than husband the fish resources for a long term future. Compulsory regulation is the only language thse individuals understand.
drnjmartin@fastmail.fm, Drongan, Scotland

I absolutely agree with Ted Danson. Certainly polution and climate change is a very real threat. However, the most immediate threat is the physical act of plucking too many fish out of the sea. Something has to be done - and it has to be done right now.
John M Davies, Harrogate, North Yorkshire, UK

We keep talking about protecting the jobs of the fishermen, but when there are no fish left in the sea there won't be any fishing jobs either.

I find the narrow minded stupidity of fishing a critically endangered species to be another bullet point on a slide with the title "human beings are doomed as a species".
Peter Saffrey, Glasgow, UK

I agree completely on the need to put a moratorium on tuna fishing. What Mr.Danson fails to mention in his article is that the method of killing the tuna is incredibly cruel and brutal. Do we have to do this just to eat sushi? But I guess that's a futile question - given that we haven't even been able to stop the slaughter of whales, there's very little chance of an amnesty for the tuna!
KALYANI MENON-SEN, Delhi, India

yes I agree, I think many people are aware of the lack of fish worldwide, as the cod has been disappearing likewisein the north sea.Japan is probably the worst culprit for reasons other than the tuna overfishing. Your right you need a total ban on certain fish for some considerable time.We can eat other things and still have a good diet, this is just greed in more ways than one.
david morris, Dubai. UAE.

I totally agree with Ted Danson's comments. I am almost at a loss for words to explain why people the World over cannot see over-fishing as a fundamentally highly damging activity that will undoubtedly have severe, long-term effects for both the ocean and an entire eco system.

Unfortunately, it is not just with tuna that the problem lies and many other species are also under threat. Demand for fish is increasing and the fish themselves are not being allowed to progress through adulthood and breeding because of it.

Although there have been warnings of overfishing since even the 18th century, the technological advancements and the increased greed for financial gain has led to major fishing fleets decimating fish stocks.

It is simply a collapse waiting to happen that will undoubtedly have unforseeable repercussions for the human race.
D Owen, Huddersfield, UK

Absolutely without question. I would support a complete moratorium on bluefin fishing this instant. In the face of so many simultaneous environmental catastrophies, there is no question but that we must act. Each choice matters at every moment and I would urge people to become aware of what they do when they consume and in the case of bluefin tune, simply choose to not eat it.
James, Paris France

I agree completely with Ted Danson. We must stop overfishing, and stop it now. The oceans are being abused, their populations decimated. No more excuses mankind, get your act together!
Alan Rogers, Canterbury UK

Ted is 100% correct in what he is asking us to do. I agree it is not too late to make a complete turnaround in the tuna population. We have to educate those in the processing area to accept less and to live with less. I know those that eat raw fish products to be fashionable and really do not care for it. Governments of the countries concerned should do more to militarily enforce the rules governing overfishing and quotas. However, I feel that some governments are in bed with the industry and make a great deal of money for some politicians on the take.
John D Fuller, Aylmer, Ontario, Canada

I'm with Mr. Danson on this is issue. As Joni Mitchell said "You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone". We're crazy to allow this situation to reach this crisis point.
Ray Pook, London

I agree with Danson that, even as a layman, it is obvious that over-fishing is a major problem. All governments, including our own, bow to pressures from the industry rather than agree an international plan for sustainable fishing. The human race is bent on self-destruction through greed and short-sightedness.
John Ellis, Llandysul, Wales

I partially agree with these statements, over fishing is a big problem. There are just so many problems with the oceans that to focus on one over the other is giving people false hope. What about the tons of sewage, garbage, or other pollution that is dumped into the ocean each day. How many species of fish does one oil spill kill? We are constantly dumping chemicals into the ocean at an alarming rate. I think that over fishing is a problem but we need to look at a much bigger picture in order for us to clean up or even save a handful of animals that live there. I thing people need to be made aware of all the other variables involved in order to see how much work we really have to do to fix this problem.
Brad, Eau Claire USA

We should only eat Farmed fish and let the natural stocks build up to a sustainable level again. Then rethink how we can use these stocks intelligently.
Martin Itter,

I'm pleased that for once an issue as important as the state of our oceans and seas gets celebrity endorsement. For years fishermen globally have behaved as though they have the right to take whatever they want, waste whatever they want and do pretty much whatever they want with no consequences. It is time that countries the world over took some responsiblity for the calamity which is now very near and take action soon to reverse some of the ravages we have committed against our seas and oceans and the fish, sharks, marine life that inhabit it before it can't be redeemed.
V Powell, London

Over-fishing has been a huge and developing problem for years, you onlt have to look example at lobster and how previous records show that lobsters being caught were upto and over a merter long. Now ig you anywhere your struggle to find one over 30cm odd.

I guess as suggested early the main problem is patrolling the huge area that is the ocean! - I think education and awareness needs to be raised of the problems and how fascinating the ocean is.
Richard , Worthing

Large pelagic species such as tuna, shark and billfish have been decimated by both intentional catch and bycatch over recent years. Many of these species grow slowly and take many years to reach reproductive age - often never achieving it before being caught. The result is a crash in numbers and also in average size of the fish.

Without massive and enforced corrective action, the destruction of a small number of key species such as these may have totally devastating consequences on the ocean's ability to feed us, the human species. While many people put lots of effort into saving aquatic mammals, their loss would be significantly smaller (although of course lamentable). If for no other reason than pure human selfishness as a species, we must protect these stocks. We must not allow individual human selfishness (the fishermen, fish marketeers and those who will spend any money on rare fish) to de facto form our approach to harvesting the ocean.

It would be far nicer to think that the human species would want to preserve these wonderful fish for their own sake rather than their importance to ourselves, but I can't see us being that enlightened.
Adrian, Crawley, UK

Print Sponsor


RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific