Overfishing is rapidly depleting many of the world’s fish populations. The global fish catch peaked in the late 1980's and has been declining ever since. Meanwhile, roughly 1 billion people, many of them poor, already depend upon fish as a primary source of animal protein.  Oceana works to reduce overfishing by advocating for science-based catch limits, reducing harmful fishing subsidies and stopping illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Setting and enforcing science-based limits to govern how much fish is allowed to be taken out of the seas has been shown time and again to allow fish populations to remain healthy and, in many cases, dramatically increase in size. Oceana seeks to win policy victories around the world that put in place and enforce science-based catch limits. 

Overfishing is exacerbated by harmful fishing subsidies. These payments cause too many boats to be on the water and encourage fishing beyond sensible reason. Oceana works in Europe and elsewhere to limit these subsidies.

In addition, many commercial fishing vessels also operate unlawfully in the worlds’ oceans, engaging in IUU fishing. Without knowing how much fish fishing vessels catch, and which types of species they are landing, scientists cannot create scientifically-based fishing quotas that can allow species to be fished at responsible levels while continuing to grow the size of their populations.  

By promoting responsible fishing practices — like setting science-based catch limits, tracking IUU fishing and eliminating fishing subsidies — Oceana is safeguarding fisheries as a valuable source of food and jobs for the future. If managed sustainably, the oceans can provide enough fish to feed more than a billion people a healthy seafood meal each day.