Countries drastically underreport the number of fish caught worldwide, according to a new study, and the numbers obscure a significant decline in the total catch.
The new estimate, released today in Nature Communications, puts the annual global catch at roughly 109 billion kilograms (109 million metric tons), about 30 per cent higher than the 77 billion officially reported in 2010 by more than 200 countries and territories. This means that 32 billion kilograms of fish goes unreported every year, more than the weight of the entire population of the United States.
Researchers led by the Sea Around Us, a research initiative at the University of British Columbia supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts, and Vulcan Inc., attribute the discrepancy to the fact that most countries focus their data collection efforts on industrial fishing and largely exclude difficult-to-track categories such as artisanal, subsistence, and illegal fishing, as well as discarded fish.
“The world is withdrawing from a joint bank account of fish without knowing what has been withdrawn or the remaining balance,” said UBC professor Daniel Pauly, a lead author of the study and principal investigator of the Sea Around Us. “Better estimating the amount we’re taking out can help ensure there is enough fish to sustain us in the future.”
Accurate catch information is critical for helping fisheries officials and managers understand the health of fish populations and inform fishing policies such as catch quotas and seasonal or area restrictions.
For the Nature Communications study, Pauly, his co-author Dirk Zeller, and hundreds of their colleagues around the world reviewed catch and related data from more than 200 countries and territories. Using a method called catch reconstruction, they compared official data submitted to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) with estimates obtained from a broad range of sources, including academic literature, industrial fishing statistics, local fisheries experts, fisheries law enforcement, human population, and other records such as documentation of fish catch by tourists.
“This groundbreaking study confirms that we are taking far more fish from our oceans than the official data suggest,” said Joshua S. Reichert, executive vice president and head of environment initiatives for Pew. “It’s no longer acceptable to mark down artisanal, subsistence, or bycatch catch data as a zero in the official record books.
“These new estimates provide countries with more accurate assessments of catch levels than we have ever had,” said Reichert, “along with a far more nuanced portrait of the amount of fish that are being removed from the world’s oceans each year.”
“Data are integral to maintaining global fisheries,” said Raechel Waters, senior program officer for ocean health for Vulcan Inc. “Without an accurate understanding of fish catch, we risk underreporting or misreporting, which can handicap countries in their efforts to implement effective fisheries policy and management measures.
“This is particularly important for countries that do not have the resources to conduct comprehensive fishery assessments,” said Waters.
The Latest on: Global fish catch
via Google News
The Latest on: Global fish catch
- Warner Bros. & Macro Catch Neil Paik’s Sci-Fi Short Story ‘Rainbowfish’on May 12, 2020 at 2:20 pm
EXCLUSIVE: We hear that Neil Paik’s sci-fi short story, Rainbowfish: A Scumbag’s Guide to Stealing Water, Traversing Wormholes and Breaking Every Rule, is in development at Warner ...
- Coronavirus Slows Global Commercial Fishingon May 12, 2020 at 12:12 pm
Global commercial fishing activity for 2020 fell by around 1 million hours as of end-April, a 6.5% decline over the two previous ...
- Virus Outbreak: Commercial fishing drops 6.5 percenton May 12, 2020 at 9:03 am
Global commercial fishing activity this year fell by about 1 million hours as of the end of last month, a 6.5 percent decline over the two previous years, the result of plummeting demand caused by ...
- Will Trump's executive order expanding fishing help the industry catch needed profits?on May 12, 2020 at 7:54 am
The move, which also provides $300 million in aid, is an effort to help seafood suppliers and has drawn support from fisheries, but environmental groups are criticizing it.
- Global commercial fishing falls 6.5 per cent to end-April due to coronaviruson May 12, 2020 at 3:32 am
In Europe, fishing activity was down by more than 50 per cent for multiple weeks in a row in France, Spain, Portugal and Italy.
- Global commercial fishing falls 6.5% to end-April due to coronaviruson May 12, 2020 at 12:21 am
Global commercial fishing activity for 2020 fell by around 1 million hours as of end-April, a 6.5% decline over the two previous years, the result of plummeting demand caused by coronavirus lockdowns, ...
- Frozen seafood demand rises during coronavirus as fresh fish sales plungeon May 11, 2020 at 5:44 am
Catering for the change in tastes, some companies are advertising for recruits to work on trawlers that stay in the Bering Sea for months to catch Alaskan pollock.
- Frozen fare cold comfort for fishing industry battered by coronaviruson May 10, 2020 at 11:05 pm
Frozen fish sticks and canned salmon have made a comeback as the coronavirus crisis keeps people home, forcing a change of tack for the fishing industry that usually turns to restaurants from Paris to ...
- Predicting the future fish of the day: How well do our models work?on May 7, 2020 at 7:23 am
Understanding how the physical and biological world reacts to climate change is a challenge that science must contend with.
- MSC Report Shows Sustainable Tuna Success as Global Demand Soarson May 1, 2020 at 8:13 am
As demand for canned tuna soars during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Marine Stewardship Council urges consumers to continue to choose sustainably.
via Bing News