Overfishing research papers point out that over two decades ago, Marine Biologists warned that the Earth's oceans were becoming over-fished. The scientists claimed that the fish stocks were continually depleting as the commercial fishing industry continued it's incessant netting. It wasn't until the early 1990's that the industry took the ecologists warnings of overfishing serious when their catches became noticeably smaller.
Part of the problem of overfishing is consumer ignorance. For example, orange roughy began to appear in fish stores and on the menus at fancy restaurants in the U.S. just a decade ago. Yet in that short time the species has become threatened with extinction due to overfishing.
The orange roughy lives up to a mile deep in cold waters off New Zealand. Now scientists have learned that species living in deep, cold waters grow and reproduce very slowly. The orange roughy, for example, lives to be 150 years old and only begins to reproduce at age 30. Recently, the principal stocks of orange roughy around New Zealand collapsed. Still, today in Annapolis, Maryland, fish stores, orange roughy is available for $8.99 per pound, and there's no sign telling consumers that the species is threatened. "People wouldn't eat rhinoceros or any other land creature that they knew was threatened with extinction. But they're eating fish like orange roughy without a clue to what's happening," says Greenpeace fisheries expert Mike Hagler in Auckland, New Zealand.