A new paper led by Daniel Pauly of the University of British Columbia that found global catch data, as reported to the FAO, to be significantly lower than the true catch numbers. “Global fish catches are falling three times faster than official UN figures suggest, according to a landmark new study, with overfishing to blame.”

400 researchers spent the last decade accumulating missing global catch data from small-scale fisheries, sport fisheries, illegal fishing activity and fish discarded at sea, which FAO statistics, “rarely include.”

“Our results indicate that the decline is very strong and is not due to countries fishing less. It is due to countries having fished too much and having exhausted one fishery after another,” Pauly says.

Despite these findings, Pauly doesn’t expect countries to realize the need to rebuild stocks, primarily because the pressures to continue current fishing effort are too strong in the developing world. But this study will allow researchers to see the true problems more clearly and hopefully inform policy makers accordingly.

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