Fisheries statistics from different countries have been giving a false impression that more and more fish are caught, when reality indicates that global marine catches have been declining on average by around 1.2 million tonnes per year since 1996, concludes a study from Sea Around Us.
The investigation carried out by the research initiative at the University of British Columbia and the University of Western Australia, published in Marine Policy, shows a decline on fish catches. However, FAO claims that catches have been more or less ‘stable’ since the 1990s.
The authors of the study, Dirk Zeller and Daniel Pauly, argue that misinformation is due to an unintended side effect of well-intentioned efforts by countries to improve their national data monitoring and reporting systems. They explain that by providing new information -for example, from fisheries, regions or fleets that were not previously monitored or controlled in a precarious manner-, they add additional catches to those of the sectors already monitored, and thus create the impression of a growing trend.