A worldwide study to be published today in Nature goes a long way to explaining why fish stocks continue to (or remain in a state of) collapse despite our acute awareness of the crisis. The study, led by University of B.C. academic Tony Pitcher, was compiled by researchers and consultants around the world, and will compound the frustrations of those who depend on the oceans for their livelihoods. Predictably, poorer countries are the worst culprits, catching 40 per cent of the fish but doing practically nothing to preserve stocks. But even the richest seafaring nations don’t live up to their obligations under a UN convention on responsible fishing. They don’t control illegal fishing; do not minimize unwanted catch; do not rebuild depleted stocks; fail to reduce destructive fishing practices like bottom dragging; and do not retrieve fishing gear that gets lost and floats away. This includes Canada, the driving force behind the UN convention, says Pitcher.