90% of all the big fish are gone because of overfishing

Another example of the persistence of biased reporting and the successful overselling of science, a study by Ransom Myers and Boris Worm of Dalhousie University in Nature in 2003 boldly - and inaccurately - declared that 90% of all large fishes (tuna, swordfish, marlin) in the world's oceans had dissappeared due to overfishing. The study received the full benefits of the anti-fishing propaganda juggernaut, but the methodology its authors used was quickly and thoroughly trashed by fisheries sciebntists who were far more familiar with the fish and the fisheries than Myers and Worm. From Ray Hilborn's Faith Based Fisheries:

    Myers and Worm published a paper in Nature (Myers and Worm 2003) which made the front page of major national newspapers, purporting to show that large pelagic fish stocks around the world had declined rapidly and by the 1980s were at less than 10% of their historic abundance. Widely cited in the scientific and popular literature, this paper raised a furor among many scientists specializing in pelagic fisheries who knew the same data, knew it was being misinterpreted, and knew there was a large body of other data that contradicted Myers and Worm’s results. At least three independent critiques of the paper subsequently have been published: Walters (2003), Hampton et al. (2005), and Polacheck (2006). The critics are not the “old guard defending their turf,” because it is not as if no one had noticed that the catch-per-unit effort data Myers and Worm used had declined. Rather these critics have themselves long been arguing that some of these fisheries are now depleted and overfished. What they criticized was Myers and Worm’s analysis, their highly selective use of data, and specific conclusions about the extent and timing of depletion of these stocks, not their concern about overexploitation. (link).