Nov. 2, 2015 (CBS) -- The apocalypse has a new date: 2048.
That's when the world's oceans will be empty of fish, predicts an international team of ecologists and economists. The cause: the disappearance of species due to overfishing, pollution, habitat loss, and climate change.
The study by Boris Worm, PhD, of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, -- with colleagues in the U.K., United States, Sweden, and Panama -- was an effort to understand what this loss of ocean species might mean to the world.
The researchers analyzed several different kinds of data. Even to these ecology-minded scientists, the results were an unpleasant surprise.
"I was shocked and disturbed by how consistent these trends are -- beyond anything we suspected," Worm says in a news release.
"This isn't predicted to happen. This is happening now," study researcher Nicola Beaumont, PhD, of the Plymouth Marine Laboratory, U.K., says in a news release.
"If biodiversity continues to decline, the marine environment will not be able to sustain our way of life. Indeed, it may not be able to sustain our lives at all," Beaumont adds.