Distant water expansion

Industrial fisheries’ expansion impacts 90 per cent of the global ocean, causes massive catch decline

Industrial fishing fleets have doubled the distance they travel to fishing grounds since 1950 but catch only a third of what they did 65 years ago per kilometre travelled, a new study from the Sea Around Us research initiative at the University of Western Australia and the University of British Columbia has found.

By mapping the growth and spread of industrial fisheries using the Sea Around Us data, the researchers found that these global trends were dominated by the heavily subsidized fleets of a small number of countries that have increased the total area fished from 60 per cent to 90 per cent of the world’s oceans.

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Half of all high seas fishing grounds would be unprofitable without current subsidies

Purse seine. Photo by NOAA.

Purse seine. Photo by NOAA.


As much as 54 per cent of the high seas fishing industry would be unprofitable at its current scale without large government subsidies, according to a new study by researchers from the National Geographic Society; the University of California, Santa Barbara; Global Fishing Watch; and the Sea Around Us project at the University of British Columbia and the University of Western Australia.

The research, published today in the open-access journal Science Advances, found that the global cost of fishing in the high seas ranged between $6.2 billion and $8 billion in 2014. Profits from this activity range between a loss of $364 million and a profit of $1.4 billion.

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Ad Dammam, Eastern, Saudi Arabia. Photo by Mohammed J, Flickr.

Climate change to cause dramatic drop in Persian Gulf biodiversity and fisheries catch potential

Ad Dammam, Eastern, Saudi Arabia. Photo by Mohammed J, Flickr.

Ad Dammam, Eastern, Saudi Arabia. Photo by Mohammed J, Flickr.

The Persian Gulf may lose up to 12 per cent of its marine biodiversity in some areas before the end of the century if countries in the region do not take measures to address climate change.

According to scientists at the University of British Columbia and the University of Western Australia, a business-as-usual climate scenario will severely affect species richness off the coast of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by the end of the century.

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Pacific Sleeper Shark. Photo by NOAA.

Bottom trawling causes deep-sea fish populations collapse

Pacific Sleeper Shark. Photo by NOAA.

Pacific Sleeper Shark. Photo by NOAA.

Bottom trawling is causing “boom and bust” fisheries.

A new study using the Sea Around Us’ reconstructed catch data reveals that in the past 60+ years, the practice of towing giant fishing nets along the sea floor has caused the extraction of 25 million tonnes of fish that live 400 metres or more below sea level leading to the collapse of many of those fish populations.

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