An international group of leading fisheries scientists will release the results of the first ever ocean-wide synthesis of the status of fisheries in the North Atlantic today at a press conference at the American Association of the Advancement of Science in Boston.
The scientists will present a new portrait of the state of the fisheries which shows that over the last fifty years, the catch of our preferred food fish species such as cod, tuna, haddock, flounder and hake, has decreased by more than half despite a tripling in fishing effort.
The only way we are maintaining yield is by increasing effort, says Dr. Daniel Pauly of the University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre, and the head of the large international project. But you need fish to make fish, and so we have created a massive reduction in productivity.
While the disastrous collapses in areas like New England and Newfoundland have appeared to be local in scale, this new ocean wide synthesis reveals that the collapse applies to the entire North Atlantic Ocean.
You may think we are making headway with a few individual stocks, but overall we are unequivocally losing the battle to manage fisheries in the North Atlantic, says Pauly. Unless you have both long term and large spatial scales, as we have mapped, you cannot see the big picture. The problem is profound at an ocean-wide scale.
Serial depletion of large predatory fishes at the top of all marine food webs means the major fisheries are now invertebrates. We are fishing for bait and headed for jellyfish. says Pauly.
Ironically, no ocean in the world has had more research dollars and government subsidies for fisheries than the North Atlantic. This is where modern fisheries science started. Yet today, the large fish we find in our local markets are being imported from developin
Contact: Jessica Brown