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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Shareable catch reconstructions vid

Catch reconstructions are not always easy to explain to non-scientists.

How did the Sea Around Us find out that overfishing has caused a steady decline in catches since the mid-1990s? What sources did researchers use? What’s the difference between officially reported figures and the Sea Around Us’ numbers?

More accurate data substantially improves fisheries monitoring and, in return, better monitoring generates better data. The overall result would be a greater protection to global fish stocks.

This is how we get #BetterData

Mistake in fisheries statistics shows false increase in catches

Fishermen holding a net between boat and beach at Pinda, Mozambique. Photo by Stig Nygaard, Wikimedia Commons.

Fishermen holding a net between boat and beach at Pinda, Mozambique. Photo by Stig Nygaard, Wikimedia Commons.

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.

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Vanuatu’s hidden stats: small-scale fisheries’ catch 200% higher than reported

Photo by vjpaul, Flickr.

Photo by vjpaul, Flickr.

Vanuatu’s small-scale fisheries’ catch is over 200 per cent higher than the numbers reported between 1950 and 2014 by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization on behalf of the country.

According to a new study by the Sea Around Us and several French and Vanuatu scientists, almost eight out of 10 residents of the archipelagic country are involved in at least one form of fishing and most of what truly local fisheries catch goes to their own household consumption.

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World’s largest marine reserve to protect high-value species from climate change-driven exploitation: research

Photo by Jens Bludau, Wikimedia Commons.

Photo by Jens Bludau, Wikimedia Commons.

Famous through the mutiny on the Bounty in 1789, one of the most remote places in the world may play a crucial role for future marine resource sustainability. Projected increases in sea surface temperature, ocean acidification and shifts in the current strength in the South Pacific gyre are projected to enlarge tuna populations around the British Overseas Territory of Pitcairn Islands.

These are the findings of a recent study published in Frontiers in Marine Science by scientists with the Sea Around Us, a research initiative at the University of British Columbia and the University of Western Australia.

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