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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Worldwide Fish Population Dwindling

Aired May 14, 2003 - 19:25   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: Moving on, ever since you were a kid, you probably heard that eating fish was good for your health. That fish is brain food. Yummy. Obviously, it is not so healthy for the fish.
Well, now a new study in the journal "Nature" warns the world's most popular food fish are critically close to extinction. Maria Hinojosa is in Gloucester, Massachusetts, where fishing is no doubt, big business -- Maria.

MARIA HINOJOSA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No kidding, Anderson. Well, this is the story here in Gloucester, Massachusetts, and around the world.

The report from the scientific journal "Nature" saying that these large fish population, we're talking about shark, we're talking about tuna, swordfish, marlin, may be down to 10 percent of their original populations. And this is based on a study that was written by a German and Canadian scientist, based on 47 years of combined research. And they took ten years to study something that this was the most comprehensive study of the fish population worldwide and they say it is dwindling.

Now here in Gloucester, Massachusetts, many people, of course, will remember this as being the setting for the movie "The Perfect Storm." And there are many fishermen here who as soon as we started reporting this story earlier today they came out here and they were saying this is -- we are in total disagreement, we debunk this, we don't believe it.

Here they have been put under severe restrictions because the smaller fish around this area have been very much reduced in their levels. So the fishermen here are saying that the levels of the fish, because they have been controlled, are actually back up.

But here's what one fisherman had to say about this report.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

VITO GINCOLONI, FISHERMAN: Words like extinction and collapse are not accurate, you know, adjectives to be using for at least the United States' fishery resources. Every one of them are being rebuilt at incredible rates.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

HINOJOSA: Now I can tell you, Anderson, again, that there have been a lot of fishermen who have come here and just been very upset about this. So we know that here in Gloucester, Massachusetts, certainly there are going to be a lot of people talking about this tonight, wondering how this might affect their own profession as fishermen -- Anderson.

COOPER: Well, also the big concern is how it affects their pocketbooks because if this study is right, then obviously, people are going to be pushing for some sort of limitations on the fishing.

HINOJOSA: Absolutely. Well, they're already in place here, as I said. They have now received about $5 million worth of aid to 600 fishermen in this area because of the restrictions and the numbers of days they've been allowed to fish have been so reduced that now they have to get this aid in order to just survive -- Anderson.

COOPER: All right. Maria Hinojosa, thanks very much.

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