Global fishing effort — as measured by engine power expended — has increased 10-fold since the 1950s, according to a new paper led by the Sea Around Us Project’s Reg Watson and published in the journal Fish and Fisheries. However, global catches are not managing to keep up the pace. Read more about the findings at Nature and at the Pew Environment Group website.
A new study by Sea Around Us Project members examines the global trends in ﬁshing effort from 1950 to 2006 using FAO fisheries data. The analysis confirmed global fishing effort is increasing and that effort is led by Europe and Asia. Trawlers contribute a major fraction of global fishing effort, as do vessels greater than 100 gross registered tons. But the study also notes that there are many limitations to the data, such as the absence of effort data for many countries and the issue of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. This means that the World Bank estimate of $50 billion in fisheries losses due to overcapacity is conservative.
Full citation: Anticamara, J.A., R. Watson, A. Gelchu and D. Pauly. 2011. Global fishing effort (1950-2010): Trends, gaps, and implications. Fisheries Research 107: 131-136.