Daniel Pauly on preventing the end of fish

Episode 29

The marine biologist on why we’re asking too much of the ocean — and how to protect the future of fish

  • Published Dec 28, 2021
  • Updated Apr 13, 2022
Dr. Daniel Pauly, a marine biologist and expert on the decline of the world’s fisheries, warns we are approaching “the end of fish.” (Photo: Sea Around Us)
Expand Image

Today we’re talking to Dr. Daniel Pauly, professor of marine biology at the University of British Columbia, the leading expert on the declining state of the world’s fisheries and something of a philosopher.

Fish is the last wild catch: the last animal food source we hunt and eat en masse from the wild. But Daniel Pauly warns that we are rapidly approaching the end of fish due to industrial fishing methods, government subsidization of corporate fishing operations, and climate change.

The French-born marine biologist has dedicated his long and award-winning career to improving the data that’s used to understand global marine stocks, especially in the developing world, where illegal fishing is rampant. This is the principal aim of the Sea Around Us initiative that he helped found at UBC. More accurate data helps better pinpoint where fisheries are collapsing and how best to protect them with ocean reserves, government regulation and a shift from industrial fishing operations back to smaller, traditional in-shore fishing. We discuss all that and what lessons have and have not been learned from the collapse of Atlantic Canada‘s once thriving cod fishery.

January/February 2022

This story is from the January/February 2022 Issue

Related Content


Excerpt: The Ocean’s Whistleblower

David Grémillet explores the remarkable life and work of fisheries scientist Daniel Pauly

  • 2195 words
  • 9 minutes
The spiny dogfish made history when it was certified as the world’s first sustainable shark fishery in 2011


The great green shark hunt 

Can British Columbia’s spiny dogfish make the grade as the world’s first “sustainable” shark fishery?

  • 3319 words
  • 14 minutes

People & Culture

The cod delusion

A moratorium on cod fishing that was supposed to last two years has now lasted 30. What will it take to rebuild cod stocks — and a way of life?

  • 3119 words
  • 13 minutes
Daniel Pauly, author of Vanishing Fish


Where have all the fish gone?

In his new book, Vanishing Fish: Shifting Baselines and the Future of Global Fisheries, marine biologist Daniel Pauly examines the perilous state of the world's fisheries

  • 816 words
  • 4 minutes