We assessed the effects of economic growth, urbanization, and human population size on marine biodiversity. We used the mean trophic level (MTL) of marine catch as an indicator of marine biodiversity and conducted cross-national time-series analyses (1960-2003) of 102 nations to investigate human social influences on fish catch and trends in MTL. We constructed path models to examine direct and indirect effects relating to marine catch and MTL. Nations' MTLs declined with increased economic growth, increased urbanization, and increased population size, in part because of associated increased catch. These findings contradict the environmental Kuznets curve hypothesis, which claims that economic modernization will reduce human impact on the environment. To make informed decisions on issues of marine resource management, policy makers, nonprofit entities, and professional societies must recognize the need to include social analyses in overall conservation-research strategies. The challenge is to utilize the socioeconomic and ecological research in the service of a comprehensive marine-conservation movement.