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Atlantic cod stocks were severely overfished in the 1970s and 1980s, leading to their abrupt collapse in 1992
Alaska pollock, another species of fish suffering from overfishing

Overfishing is the name for catching too much fish. It occurs in a body of water, more fish are caught that either grow back or migrate to the body of water. It is a good example for a social dilemma in the context of the Tragedy of the commons.

Overfishing can be categorized into different types:

  • Growth overfishing: The fish that are caught are smaller than those that would produce the maximum sustainable yield
  • Recruitment overfishing: So much fish is caught that the there are too few adults of a certain species left, so that they can keep the level of fish at its current number.
  • Ecosystem overfishing: The balance in the ecosystem shifts: Too few of the large predators are left, so smaller species take their place.

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