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Subject:

WORLD FISHERIES ASSESSMENTS MAY BE STATISTICALLY FLAWED

From:

William Silvert <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Scientific forum on fish and fisheries <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Fri, 7 Dec 2001 17:58:11 -0000

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This paper in the latest issue of Nature has been so widely publicised that
maybe all subscribers have seen it, but it is potentially important enough
to bear repeating. This account is from the AFS newsletter. Bill Silvert

WORLD FISHERIES ASSESSMENTS MAY BE
STATISTICALLY FLAWED: Various official reports have indicated
serious overall worldwide increased fisheries harvests in recent years,
particularly based on data recently discovered to have been seriously
flawed. Systematic over-reporting by China in the 1990's has been
found that, because the China harvests are so large, biases worldwide
harvest statistics considerably, so that the overall harvest trend was
officially up for the 1990's while the actual harvest levels had actually
begun to decline. What this means is that the actual harvests, and
perhaps the status of fish stocks, is worse than reported by the United
Nations Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) findings that depleted
and overexploited ocean fish stocks constitute about 28 percent of the
fish in the world's oceans; fully exploited stocks account for another 47
percent, with moderately exploited and under-exploited totaling about
25 percent. The report, "Systematic Distortions In World Fisheries
Catch Trends," by Watson and Pauly, appears as a letter in the 29
November issue of Nature (No. 414, pp. 534-536). To view this report,
go to: http://www.nature.com/nature/links/011129/011129-2.html.

The Watson and Pauly letter comes on the heels of a scathing
European Commission report on the European Union's (EU) Common
Fishery Policy (CFP). According to a 23 November article in the U.K.
trade publication, Fishing News (p.1), the Commission found
enforcement and monitoring under the CFP to be fragmented, with
unauthorized fishing being the most frequent infringement of the CFP.
The report about management implementation, enforcement and
monitoring for fisheries in the developed world brings into serious
question the degree of adherence to management measures in less
developed nations. To see the full FN article, go to:
www.fishingnews.co.uk.

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