Nukunonu Lagoon in Tokelau. Photo by CloudSurfer, Wikimedia Commons.

Fishing pressure and climate change challenge Tokelau’s food security

Nukunonu Lagoon in Tokelau. Photo by CloudSurfer, Wikimedia Commons.

Nukunonu Lagoon in Tokelau. Photo by CloudSurfer, Wikimedia Commons.

Tokelau’s fish-dependent population may be at risk of seeing its main source of locally available animal protein dramatically reduced if the amounts and species of fish caught by local fishers in their waters stay the same or increase.

According to a study by researchers with the Sea Around Us initiative at the University of British Columbia and the Sea Around Us – Indian Ocean at the University of Western Australia, a small-scale, commercial or artisanal fishery that has been growing since it began in the early 2000s, combined with an expanding foreign industrial fishery that catches most of the offshore fish in the territory’s exclusive economic zone, may threaten people’s access to fresh seafood.

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Photo by ILO.

Modern slavery promotes overfishing

Labour abuses, including modern slavery, are ‘hidden subsidies’ that allow distant-water fishing fleets to remain profitable and promote overfishing, new research from the University of Western Australia and the Sea Around Us initiative at the University of British Columbia has found.

By combining fisheries data from the Sea Around Us initiative at UBC with country-level data on modern slavery, the researchers found that countries whose fleets rely heavily on government subsidies, fish far away from home ports, and fail to comprehensively report their actual catch, tend to fish beyond sustainable limits and are at higher risk of labour abuses.

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Photo by Naka9707, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Appetite for luxurious shark fin soup drives massive shark populations decline

Photo by Naka9707, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Photo by Naka9707, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0.

Populations of some shark species such as hammerhead and oceanic whitetip have declined by over 90 per cent in recent years largely because of wealthy consumers’ growing appetite for fin soup, a new paper in Marine Policy states.

The study by researchers from the University of Hong Kong, the Sea Around Us initiative at the University of British Columbia and WildAid Hong Kong, reveals that since fishing pressure on threatened shark populations has increased dramatically in recent years, it is urgent for consumers to stop demanding shark fin products.

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Atlantic cod. Photo by Hans-Petter Fjeld, Wikimedia Commons.

Half of Russian catches in the Barents Sea thrown overboard

Atlantic cod. Photo by Hans-Petter Fjeld, Wikimedia Commons.

Atlantic cod. Photo by Hans-Petter Fjeld, Wikimedia Commons.

Russian fishing fleets operating in the Barents Sea dumped 42.7 million tonnes of good fish back into the ocean over the past 65 years according to new research. Thankfully, fishing practices have improved in recent years.

The study by researchers with the Sea Around Us at the University of British Columbia, and the Sea Around Us – Indian Ocean at the University of Western Australia, reveals that 55 per cent of the total catch taken by Russian fishers from the Barents Sea was discarded due to poor fishing practices and inadequate management.

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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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