Study reveals ‘true catch’ of global fishing

Tens of millions more tonnes of fish have been taken from the seas than are recorded in official statistics, suggests a huge and controversial project aiming to estimate the ‘true catch’ of the world’s fishing industry.

The work is detailed in a paper in Nature Communications by fisheries researchers Daniel Pauly and Dirk Zeller of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, and it builds on a decade-long project that has drawn in hundreds of researchers from around the world.

According to Pauly and Zeller, global fisheries catches hit a peak of 130 million tonnes a year in 1996, and they have been declining strongly since then. This is substantially higher than the data collected by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), which report that catches reached 86 million tonnes in 1996 and have fallen only slightly.

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