Cod May Be Headed for Extinction, Says WWF

Worldwide cod stocks are declining rapidly and could be entirely wiped out by 2020, says enviro group World Wildlife Fund. The global cod catch has declined from 3.4 million tons in 1970 to 1 million tons in 2000, a trend WWF blames on overfishing, illegal catches, and oil exploration. Since the 1980s, cod stocks are down 90 percent in U.S. waters and 75 percent in European waters. The largest stocks left are in the Barents Sea, north of Norway and Russia, but they too are in danger if those countries do not decrease their fishing quotas and crack down on illegal fishing, says the group. Making matters worse, Norway recently announced that it will open the sea to oil exploration, and Russia said it will develop a new oil-shipping export route through the waters.