||The relationship between spawning fish abundance and the number of offspring, the so-called stock-recruitment relationship, is crucial for fisheries management and conservation measures. Using the most comprehensive data set ever assembled, we quantify this relationship for 211 fish stocks worldwide, revealing a global pattern with a pervasive asymptotic shape that shows increasing recruitment reaching an upper limit for values around half to two-thirds of parental biomass. This corroborates previous theoretical and modeling results. However, parental biomass is a predictor for only 5% to 15% of the variance in recruitment, demonstrating the weak predictive power of the stock-recruitment relationship in marine fish populations. Thus, there is a need to move rapidly toward models that integrate environmental conditions and species interactions in fisheries stock assessment and management, as suggested by Johan Hjort 100 years ago.