Among anthropogenic effects on the ocean, fishing is one of the most pervasive and extends deepest into the past. Because fishing reduces the density of fish (reducing transmission efficiency of directly transmitted parasites), selectively removes large fish (which tend to carry more parasites than small fish), and reduces food web complexity (reducing transmission efficiency of trophically transmitted parasites), the removal of fish from the world's oceans over the course of hundreds of years may be driving a long-term, global decline in fish parasites. There has been growing recognition in recent years that parasites are a critical part of biodiversity and that their loss could substantially alter ecosystem function. Such a loss may be among the last major ecological effects of industrial fishing to be recognized by scientists. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.
Wood, C. L., Lafferty, K. D., & Micheli, F. (2010, June). Fishing out marine parasites? Impacts of fishing on rates of parasitism in the ocean. Ecology Letters. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1461-0248.2010.01467.x