China faking fishery numbers, researchers say
Victoria Times Colonist, 29 Nov 2001

VANCOUVER -- China has grossly misled the United Nations for more than a decade about the state of its fisheries, effectively masking a steady decline in the world's fish stocks, two University of B.C. researchers charged Wednesday.

Reg Watson and Daniel Pauly of UBC's Fisheries Centre contend in a controversial report in the scientific journal Nature that China has consistently reported inflated commercial catches.

"I don't really like to say the Chinese are lying,'' Watson said in an interview. "They're a victim of their statistical system. It gets to the point there is no link with reality.''

Catch levels are considered an important indicator of the state of the ocean -- if catches keep going up, the assumption is that stocks are healthy. But if the catches are exaggerated, stocks could be in trouble without scientists even knowing it.