Countries’ improvements to their fisheries statistics have been contributing to the false impression that humanity is getting more and more fish from the ocean when, in reality, global marine catches have been declining on average by around 1.2 million tonnes per year since 1996.
Fish catches by Thailand’s distant-water fleet fishing throughout the Indo-Pacific are almost seven times higher than what the country reports to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, a new study by the Sea Around Us reveals.
In 2014 alone, the Asian country caught 3.7 million tonnes of fish outside its Exclusive Economic Zone but reported only 247,000 tonnes. This figure, although substantial, represents a decline from peak numbers reached in the mid-1990s when the more relaxed rules of Thailand’s neighbours allowed for massive catches of over 7 million tonnes per year. Back then, as much as 80 per cent of the catch was unreported and much of it likely obtained illegally, the study reveals.
Closing the high seas to all fishing and curtailing industrial fleets’ operations by eliminating the subsidies they receive, would increase the amount of fish available to small-scale fishers, boost the quality of the fish and make it more valuable, finds a new paper by the Sea Around Us Principal Investigator Daniel Pauly.
In order to back government efforts to overcome the likely legacy effects of illegal fishing and piracy, stakeholders of Somali fisheries should emphasize improvements to their catch data, a new study finds. The paper, recently published in Marine Policy, also reveals that the amount of fish taken out of the country’s waters over the past six decades was 80 per cent higher than officially reported.
The paper, produced by scientists with the Sea Around Us at the University of British Columbia, the Sea Around Us – Indian Ocean at the University of Western Australia, One Earth Future’s Secure Fisheries program and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, shows how the lack of proper oversight, monitoring and control in years prior to the establishment of the new Federal Government in 2012 allowed for industrial foreign vessels to exploit Somali marine resources or to operate under dubious licenses.
Shareholders in the world’s major publically-listed fishing companies are exposed to risk from overfished fish stocks, with many of these stocks underperforming or at risk of collapse, a new study reveals.
The report, produced by the Fish Tracker Initiative in collaboration with the Sea Around Us, states that 32 per cent of the 97 stocks targeted by fishing giants such as South Korea’s Dongwon Industries and Silla Co., Norway’s Austevoll Seafood, and Canada’s Clearwater Seafoods are overfished.
“This is an important finding because it matches the global average. Globally, at least 31 per cent of fish stocks are overfished and we would have thought that large publicly listed fishing companies like the largest 19 identified here, whose combined annual revenues exceed $4 billion, as well as institutional investors would not be exposed to this, but they are,” says Tim Cashion, a scientist with the Sea Around Us who led the fisheries research in the report.