Sunday, December 11, 2011

Global fisheries losses at the exclusive economic zone level, 1950 to present
Abstract: Up to one-third of commercial fishery stocks may be overfished at present. By analyzing catch trends and applying an empirical relationship derived from stock assessments, this article tracks the geographic spread of overfishing at the country level in terms of lost catch and lost revenue, from the start of industrialized fishing in 1950–2004. The results tell a cautionary tale of serial depletion to meet the ever-rising demand for fish. Examining country losses with respect to fishery management reveals that overcapacity and excess fishing effort are widespread, but also that recent trends towards sustainability can stabilize or reverse losses (e.g. for Norway, Iceland, the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand). Global trade effectively masks the successive depletion of stocks, so that without decisive action to reduce fishing effort, many more stocks will suffer and undernourishment impacts for the major exporting, food-deficit nations will only magnify.

► This study tracks the spread of overfishing by country in catch and revenue losses.
► A pattern of serial depletion to meet growth in demand is observed.
► Losses are linked to overcapacity and excess effort and fishing by foreign fleets.
► Sustainable fisheries management can slow, stabilize or reverse losses.
Overfishing and overcapacity are costing the world’s fishery sector dearly, reducing resource rent—the surplus after fishing costs have been subtracted from revenue—by an estimated US$50 billion a year according to two recent studies based on different methodologies. Meanwhile,the gap between global revenue and costs narrows, with global revenue from marine fisheries at approximately US $95 billion and the total variable cost of fishing estimated at US $92 billion (both in real 2005 dollars).

Excess subsidies, by one estimate topping US $27 billion per year currently [8], largely fuel this cycle of dysfunction. Against this backdrop, the human consumption of fish has been rising, up 9% from 2002 to 2006 alone. To support this, overall fish production from both capture fisheries and aquaculture continues to climb, reaching a level in 2006 more than seven times that recorded for 1950. The phenomenal growth of aquaculture is responsible for the recent growth, and nearly half of the world’s food fish supply is farmed at present. But just as the overall rise in fish production hides the stagnation in catches from the world’s capture fisheries over the past two decades, global catch trends mask successive declines in regional stocks and the geographic spread of overfishing in time. Indeed, the roughly five fold increase in marine fishery catches from 1950 to the late 1980s when catches peaked was facilitated by the expansion into and exploitation of new fishing areas, from the North Atlantic and Western Pacific coastlines southward and into the high seas.
The anchoveta crash placed Peru 5th in overall catch losses although the country may have ranked higher given that peak landings were under-reported by perhaps 33%. Although Peru’s recent losses have been mitigated by the recovery of anchoveta stocks, it has been estimated that a 60–80% reduction in excess fleet and processing capacity could allow fish stocks to rebuild meaningfully, adding potentially $400 million per year in economic benefits.
by U. Thara Srinivasan 1 and 3, Reg Watson 2 and U. Rashid Sumaila 2 and 3
1. Pacific Ecoinformatics and Computational Ecology Lab, Berkeley, 1471 Catherine Dr., Berkeley CA 94702, United States. Tel.: +1 510 524 5467
2. Sea Around Us Project, Fisheries Centre, The University of British Columbia, 2202 Main Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z4
3. Global Ocean Economics Project, Fisheries Economics Research Unit, Fisheries Centre, the University of British Columbia, 2202 Main Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z4
Marine Policy via Elsevier Science Direct Volume 36, Issue 2; March, 2012; Pages 544-549
Keywords: Overfishing; Fisheries management; Depletion; Sustainability

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