Marine fish species are migratory in nature and not respectful of human-made territorial boundaries, which represents a challenge for fisheries management as policies tend to focus at the national level. With an average catch of 48 million tonnes per year, and USD $77 billion in annual fishing revenue, these species support critical fisheries, and require international cooperation to manage, according to UBC research.
The researchers focused on fish species that cross the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of two or more coastal states which are most often targeted by fisheries operating within those EEZs. They identified over 633 exploited transboundary species worldwide and found that the catch and revenue from these fisheries had been severely underestimated and over-exploited.
“We found that some countries get over 80 per cent of their catch from transboundary species. These are not small numbers or small nations: these catches are specifically important in terms of revenue for Northern America and Eastern Asia,” said Juliano Palacios Abrantes, a doctoral student in UBC’s Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, and lead author on the study. “Fishing nations such as China, the USA, Russia, Peru, and Japan alone are responsible for 41 per cent of the yearly global fisheries revenue from transboundary species.”