I ran across this animated GIF today, via Southern Fried Scientist, that vividly illustrates the effects of a century of overfishing on the biomass of fish in the North Atlantic. It’s a pretty stark visual depiction of changes that have happened to the oceans worldwide, in just the past century.
This image wascreated by Information is Beautiful‘s David McCandless from a PEW report on historic declines on several fish species. He posts about the image here, and includes a link to the cited report. In his post, McCandless points out that even by the 1900s, we had had a huge effect on the number of fish (and whales, and turtles, and seals, and sea cows, and so on…) in the sea. So one important thing to keep in mind for context is that the fish abundance from 1900 is not a “pre-human impact” point in time.