One of the chief consequences of industrial fishing is that some species have been overfished to the point of near extinction.
Perhaps the best known example of this comes from the Atlantic cod.
In the 17th century, people said that cod was so plentiful in the Northwest Atlantic that you could walk across the ocean on their backs.
During the era, cod fishing formed the foundation of the New England economy and many people relied on fishing cod for their livelihood.1 In the 1960's, new technologies like radar and sonar enabled fishermen to fish much deeper for cod and to catch them much more rapidly.
Landings of cod began to skyrocket over the next few decades, but the fishery collapsed dramatically in the 1990's.
The area off Newfoundland, formerly the largest cod fishery in the world, had estimated declines in cod biomass of more than 99%. Six additional stocks off the coast of Canada had all declined in biomass by 75% or greater.2
The number of fish became so few that Canada enacted a moratorium on cod fishing to allow stocks to recover.3
The United States has also placed severe restrictions on the industry, cutting back the amount of time that people can fish and reducing the total amount of cod that could be caught.