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Nearly all seafood populations face collapse by 2050 — meaning a 90-percent depletion — if trends in overfishing and pollution continue, a team of ecologists and economists warn.

Recent information shows that 29-percent of fish and seafood species have already collapsed, according to an MSNBC news report. The predictions were published this month in the journal Science .

“It is a very clear trend, and it is accelerating,” lead author Boris Worm of DalhousieUniversity in Halifax, Canada, says in the report. “If the long-term trend continues, all fish and seafood species are projected to collapse within my lifetime — by 2048.”

Over four years the international team examined a broad range of data including 32 controlled experiments, other studies from 48 marine protected areas and global catch data of fish and invertebrates worldwide from 1950 to 2003, the report says. The team also drew on data from archives, fishery records, sediment cores and archaeological data from 12 coastal regions over a 1,000-year time series.

“It looks grim and the projection of the trend into the future looks even grimmer,” Worm says in the report. “But it’s not too late to turn this around. It can be done, but it must be done soon. We need a shift from single-species management to ecosystem management. It just requires a big chunk of political will to do it.” Worm and the other researchers are calling for new marine reserves, better management to prevent overfishing and tighter controls on pollution.

— Jason Fell