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Overexploitation

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Striped bass (Morone saxatilis) is considered extinct in Quebec due to over-exploitation
Photo: Biodôme de Montréal (Serge Pépin)

Hunting (or poaching) or over-harvesting of endangered species for their medicinal, ornamental, food, cultural or economic values continue to threaten a number of species with extinction. Worldwide awareness campaigns, and regulations, monitoring and enforcement by the relevant governments have reduced such threats in recent years, due in part to the work of CITES and many other organizations.

Wild fish populations in danger

However, despite these national and international efforts, certain groups of species, such as fish, continue to suffer seriously from over-exploitation. It is estimated that more than 50% of the world’s wild fish populations are exploited at or beyond their maximum sustainable capacity. This is clearly observed by the decreasing numbers and size of fish caught commercially.

Overfishing and habitat-destroying fishing practices must be tackled nationally and internationally, with the support of industry by, for example, banning destructive practices and establishing catch quotas based on realistic estimates of stock health. More generally, over-exploitation must be addressed through national and international regulation, while ensuring that these efforts are supported by the general public through education and by providing sustainably viable alternatives.

These texts have been provided by the Université de Montréal Biodiversity Centre.

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