Seven of the most important fish species for humans are threatened with extinction with four more close to that status says new research for the Red List of Threatened Species.
The research, led by David Die of University of Miami Rosentiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science (RSMAS) looked at the status of 61 species of "scombrids"; a group of fish which includes tuna, bonito, mackerel, swordfish and marlin.
Die says the picture is much bleaker than organisations involved in the industry would have us believe, after carrying out the survey for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) which also found that the survival prospects of around two thirds of "scombrid" species were less of a cause for concern.
The IUCN says that over fishing, partly in response to rising prices, is partly to blame and calls for action to tackle this threat as well as pollution, degraded habitats and disease.
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO), around a quarter of all the commercially important fish species are over fished or depleted.
"Our study reaches similar conclusions to those from the FAO," said Die. "Approximately one quarter of the worldwide fish stocks and species of "scombrids" are in an undesirable state of sustainable exploitation or conservation."
Top Image Credit: © Mikael Damkier