Industrial fisheries in Southeast Asia divert millions of tonnes of fish to fishmeal

Fishing trawlers in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. Photo by stratman², Flickr.

Fishing trawlers in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia. Photo by stratman², Flickr.

Four countries in Southeast Asia have diverted almost 40 million tonnes of fish towards fishmeal production in the past six decades, as opposed to making it available for direct human consumption.

A new study by the Sea Around Us at the University of British Columbia reveals that government policies in Cambodia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Vietnam have focused on expanding their industrial fisheries and making them competitive, despite the fact that such growth may not always benefit their own countries’ food security.

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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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Why early career scientists should go to international conferences

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Text and photos by Madeline Cashion.

This summer/fall I spoke at three marine research conferences hosted in three very different cities. I was presenting the first chapter of my thesis, for which I analyzed the quality of official fisheries catch statistics for sharks, skates, and rays in the Mediterranean and Black Seas. Over half of the species in this group of fishes are at risk of extinction in the region, with overfishing being their greatest threat.

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