Fish Out Of Water: Five Ocean Species We Are Eating to Death

The ocean provides us with an abundance of seafood that has become a staple in many people's diets. However, our appetite for seafood has had a devastating impact on certain species that are now on the brink of extinction. In this article, we will explore the five ocean species that are being fished to death and what we can do to prevent their extinction.

Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

Atlantic Bluefin Tuna is a highly prized fish that is being fished to the brink of extinction. The demand for this fish, particularly in sushi restaurants, has led to overfishing, which has caused their population to decline by over 80% in the last 40 years. If current fishing practices continue, the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna could become extinct within the next few years.

Chilean Sea Bass

The Chilean Sea Bass, also known as the Patagonian toothfish, is another species that is being fished to death. This fish is highly sought after for its delicate flavor and has become a popular choice in high-end restaurants. However, the overfishing of this species has led to a decline in its population, and it is now considered a threatened species.


Sharks play a critical role in maintaining the balance of the ocean's ecosystem, but their populations have been decimated by overfishing. Many species of sharks, including the great white shark, are now listed as endangered. Sharks are often killed for their fins, which are considered a delicacy in certain cultures. The practice of shark finning, which involves cutting off the shark's fins and throwing the rest of the body back into the ocean, has had a devastating impact on shark populations.

Blue Whales

Blue whales are the largest animals on Earth, and yet they are also one of the most endangered species in the ocean. They were hunted almost to extinction in the early 20th century, and while their population has slowly increased since then, they are still considered endangered. Blue whales are particularly vulnerable to ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear.

Coral Reefs

Coral reefs are not a species, but they are an essential part of the ocean ecosystem. They provide a home to a vast array of marine life, including many of the fish species that we rely on for food. However, coral reefs are under threat from a variety of human activities, including overfishing, pollution, and climate change. If we do not take action to protect coral reefs, they could disappear entirely within the next few decades.

What Can We Do?

The good news is that there are things that we can do to prevent these species from becoming extinct. One of the most effective ways to protect these species is to choose sustainable seafood options. Look for seafood that is certified by organizations such as the Marine Stewardship Council, which ensures that the seafood has been caught using sustainable fishing practices.

We can also support conservation efforts by donating to organizations that work to protect these species, such as the Blue Whale Trust or the Shark Trust. By supporting these organizations, we can help to fund research and conservation efforts that are critical to the survival of these species.

Finally, we can take steps to reduce our overall consumption of seafood. While seafood can be a healthy and delicious part of our diet, we need to be mindful of the impact that our choices are having on the ocean's ecosystem. By reducing our consumption of seafood and choosing sustainable options, we can help to protect the ocean and the species that call it home.


The ocean provides us with an abundance of seafood that we have come to rely on, but our appetite for seafood has had a devastating impact on certain species. The Atlantic Bluefin Tuna, Chilean Sea Bass, sharks, blue whales

Aaron Bernstein, MD, MPH

Aaron Bernstein is the Interim Director of The Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment, a pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital, and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics.

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