Education Resource

Journalist Erik Vance on Overfishing in the Sea of Cortez

Science writer Erik Vance has been reporting from Mexico, along the coast of the Sea of Cortez for his project "Mexico: Emptying the World's Aquarium." Once one of the most abundant and diverse sources of sea creatures, the Sea of Cortez is slowly being emptied of life by fishermen. The most popular species — tuna, red snapper and shark — are almost all gone.

Erik's reporting covers both the sea itself as well as the fishermen who survive by emptying the sea of its bounty. Previously, the Mexican government pushed people towards fishing, increasing the number of fishermen. Now, fishermen have to go far out to sea to catch anything. Very few adult fish survive near the coast.

Erik observes that in order to conserve the sea's resources, fishermen have to cooperate. An odd balance must be struck — the very men who are searching for the last fish must also be on the water in order to save it.