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Global overfishing: what is the world’s true catch?

Two leading marine biologists, Prof Daniel Pauly and Dr Dirk Zeller from the University of British Columbia’s Sea Around Us project, published findings last year that challenged fundamental assumptions about global fisheries.

They showed that the global fish catch is about 50 per cent greater than the official estimates over the last 60 years. Their paper in Nature Communications revealed country by country that global marine fish catches are higher than reported and declining more quickly.

Their paper was followed by the Global Atlas of Marine Fisheries: A critical appraisal of catches and ecosystem impacts, published by Island Press last November, which filled numerous holes in the information provided by countries to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation. One of the significant findings which has come out so far from this area of research is the size and impact of the Chinese distant water fleet, now the largest in the world.

In a lecture at ZSL on the evening of 12 January they will explain how they summarised over a decade of research by 400 scientists and developed an estimation procedure called catch reconstruction which leads to more complete estimates of total catches by all countries.

This is the first time they will have discussed this monumental work in London.



Prof. Daniel Pauly, Project Leader of the Sea Around Us Project at UBC Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia

Dr Dirk Zeller, Senior Researcher and Project Manager of the Sea Around Us Project at UBC Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia

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