Running out of Fish: The current problems of Overfishing

What is Overfishing and why is it a problem?

Overfishing is the act of depleting the stock of fish through excessive amounts of overfishing.

Every day around the world people eat seafood. Whether it’s fish, crab, clams, or scallops they are eaten on a daily basis. This may seem good, however, it is causing a global issue. This overconsumption of seafood is increasing the fish market which is causing overfishing.

Overfishing is one of the largest Marine issues in the world. If we do nothing about it then we will have serious repercussion in the future. These repercussions could include the loss of fish as a food source entirely. Either because there are not enough to catch or because the fish have been fed too many toxic products and are no longer safe to eat. These problems that we have created will not just go away. Which is why people should make a more conscious effort when getting food. Limit the amount of fish eaten per person.

If people eat less fish then fisherman will catch less and it will give marine life the opportunity to repopulate.

How this topic connects to me and this course:

The Sustainable Developmental Goal that I am focusing on is number 14, Life Below the Water. To conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

I have always been interested in art and thought that I should use my passion for art to spread ideas and inspire people. For my topic of overfishing, I decided to make an infographic to clearly display the issue as well as use my skills of graphic design.

When I was little I learned about where meat came from, this shocked me because I have always loved animals. From then I decided I wouldn’t eat meat anymore. Over the years, I’ve learned more about the treatment of animals, as well as the problems people have created because of our overconsumption. I decided to dig deeper into these issues, which is what lead me to the issue of overfishing. Overfishing is one of the largest marine issues in the world and affects everyone. After learning of the global problems that overfishing is creating I thought to share my knowledge and to make people more aware of this issue.

My Catalyst Conference Pitch:

Overfishing research:

  • Overfishing is a problem because fisheries(3) are removing fish faster then they can reproduce. This results in depleted population and in extreme cases endangerment of certain species.
  • “According to the United Nations, 17% of fish stocks(1) worldwide are currently overexploited; 52% are fully exploited(2), and 7% are depleted. This means that only an estimated 20% of worldwide fish stocks are not already at or above their capacity.”(Seafarms)
  • After fisherman catch all of the biggest and most populated fish they move on to smaller species. For example, tuna, and cod were once two of the largest fish populations but due to overfishing they have now been almost completely depleted. Crabs, sardines, and squid have become the new target.
  • Overfishing does not only deplete fish populations and collapse fisheries, but it also harms the economy. The collapse of these fisheries causes a strain in the economy due to the loss of workers.
  • About 25% of US fish stocks are overfished and 90% of global fish stocks are fully or overfished, which has led to the collapse of some very important fisheries and fishing communities. (Marine Conservative)

What is currently being done about Overfishing:


The U.S. is one of the largest contributors to the importation of seafood, allowing it to influence the global market. “Currently, the WWF is working with 40 corporate partners in North America that source from 550 different fisheries. This helps to level the purchasing power of the private sectors.”

The WWF also supports the creation and management of marine protected areas around the world.

(WWF -Overfishing)


Marine Stewardship Council or MSC is a non-profit organization that uses their ecolabel and fishery certification program to contribute to the health of the world’s oceans by recognising and rewarding sustainable fishing practices, influencing the choices people make when buying seafood and working with our partners to transform the seafood market to a sustainable basis.

What I want to do about it

I want to create a design to bring awareness to the amount of overfishing that goes on each year. I want people to know that our oceans are being depleted at an alarming rate each year and that if this continues then we are going to run out of certain species.

I plan on explaining my problem in the form of an infographic. By showing the information but using my skills of graphic design to make it more compelling by adding visuals.

Alternative options for my design would include more visuals and possibly fewer words. For visual learners, this will have more of an impact because they will be able to see the toll that overfishing is taking on the ocean through the images or graphics instead of through numbers and graphs.

Assuming that the client or user, in this case, is much of the human population as well as for the good of the ocean. I believe that the needs of the people and of the ocean would be to figure out ways to decline the depletion of marine life. By stopping overfishing, it would not only help fisherman in the long run but it would help the ocean as well, specifically in recovering the environment.

Call to Action:

The original idea was to create a label but it transitioned to a poster because it would be easier to spread around.
This is the final poster design that I came up with.

Video of me explaining my poster:


It is fair to assume that people cannot take on this global issue by themselves. However, steps in their everyday lives may help to stop overfishing. For example, people can help by not buying as much fish. When going to the market for food make the choice not to buy fish or other meats. Try to make a better choice and help the environment. The fewer people that buy these then the less the fisherman will fish for these endangered species.

If people do need to buy fish then make sure that it a sustainable fish. One that there is a lot of and that you won’t be putting in danger by buying it.

Sketches for Infographic:

Mood Boards:

Infographic stages:

First Draft of Infographic

Final Infographic

Quick Definitions:

  1. Fish stocks – usually mean that a certain population is isolated from the other of its species making it self sustaining. Fish stock can include various different species of fish.
  2. Exploited – to take full use of or to gain the benefit from a resource.
  3. Fisheries– refers to all marine organisms which are targeted by the industry, ranging from small invertebrates like clams to the largest animals on the planet, whales.


Share this project
  1. April 26, 2019 by Michael Bell

    I love your presentation and design. You have me thinking about just how powerful our choices are as consumers. Your design would be perfect on seafood items that were certified sustainable. How can we educate people about the importance of what they buy?

    • April 27, 2019 by Isabel Rivet

      I believe that we can educate people by further bringing more attention to this problem by spreading the word and letting more people know about the dangers of overfishing; I think that the most effective methods of doing this would be to popularize the issue through more public campaigns and bringing increased awareness to charities that support this issue.

  2. May 08, 2019 by Michael Bell

    Amazing work Isabel! I love your ideas and sketches. It would be so cool if your design could be made into stickers, or even used by companies that sold sustainable seafood. This would help consumers be more conscious and informed about their decisions.

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