New book recounts the remarkable life and work of Daniel Pauly, The Ocean’s Whistleblower

New book recounts the remarkable life and work of Daniel Pauly, The Ocean’s Whistleblower

Dr. Daniel Pauly is known these days as the world’s most cited fisheries scientist and the whistleblower who alerted the public about the devastation caused to marine ecosystems by the global fishing industry.

He is the mind behind the idea of the shifting baselines syndrome, which explains how knowledge of environmental disaster fades over time, leading to a misguided understanding of change on our planet, and the fishing down marine food webs concept, which describes how in certain parts of the ocean, fisheries have depleted large predatory fish and are increasingly catching smaller – and previously spurned – species lower in the food web.

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High impact fishing dominates catches in many parts of the world

High impact fishing dominates catches in many parts of the world

High impact fishing dominates catches in many parts of the world
Icelandic stern trawler. Photo by Mahlum, Wikimedia Commons.

A new report by leading fisheries experts found that over 99 percent of bottom trawling worldwide occurs inside the Exclusive Economic Zones of coastal nations—with much of the effort focused within just 12 miles of shore— posing risks to critical habitats and traditional, small-scale, artisanal fishing operations. As the only globally significant fishing practice that requires sustained contact with the seabed, bottom trawling has a uniquely high impact, one that can drive habitat destruction, coastal conflict and major fuel-related carbon emissions.

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How much fish is left Sea Around Us now provides assessments for over 2,500 stocks

How much fish is left? Sea Around Us now provides assessments for over 2,500 stocks

How much fish is left Sea Around Us now provides assessments for over 2,500 stocks

Reference photo by Kim Seng, Flickr.

Under the premise of finding out how much fish is left in our oceans since 1950, when industrial fishing operations began to spread to the world oceans, the Sea Around Us team together with the Sea Around Us – Indian Ocean, and the FishBase and SeaLifeBase teams assessed the status of over 2,500 fish and invertebrate populations exploited in the Exclusive Economic Zones of all maritime countries and the high seas.

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