Overfishing has depleted most of the ocean's fish population. Today's seafood is often yesterday's trash fish.
For at least the past 40 years, fishermen have been harvesting fish that were previously considered undesirable and have been renaming their products to make them more appetizing.
The customer is not being cheated in this regard, it is mainly a matter of giving a product a name that will not induce revulsion. Slimehead and chips does not sound nearly as appetizing as Orange Roughy and chips, but it is the same product.
A slimehead (now called Orange Roughy) is a long-lived fish with the look of a prehistoric fossil. Slimeheads are named for the network of mucus-filled canals riddling their heads. In the 1970's, seafood dealers came up with the name Orange Roughy and the fish started appearing on dinner tables.
Other tasty fish under new names include the Patagonian toothfish which were rechristened "Chilean Sea Bass", Angler fish which were renamed "monkfish", and Snakeheads which are sold as "Channa". In Maine, sea urchins are known as 'whores' eggs' but they appear on your sushi menu as "uni".
Dr Boris Worm,Professor of Marine Biology at the Dow-Hawse University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, has recently published a report on the Impacts of Biodiversity Loss on Ocean Ecosystem Services in Science.
Bloggers and media are busy drawing conclusions and pointing fingers. Some even manage to work in Global Warming as a cause of overfishing.
If you would like a more reader friendly version of the story direct from the source, you might enjoy Mike Adams interview of Dr Worm,
You will find more information on the study of marine biodiversity, its causes, consequences of change, and conservation at the Worm Lab website.