How much fish does the world catch each year?
Countries drastically underreport their annual fish catch, according to a new study, and these official numbers obscure a significant decline in the total global fish catch.
The new estimate, released in Nature Communications, puts the annual global catch at roughly 109 million metric tons, about 30 per cent higher than the 77 million officially reported in 2010 by more than 200 countries and territories. This means that 32 million metric tons of fish goes unreported every year, more than the weight of the entire population of the United States.
The discrepancy is most likely due to the fact that most countries focus their data collection efforts on industrial fishing and largely exclude difficult-to-track categories such as artisanal, subsistence, and illegal fishing, as well as discarded fish.
The study was done by researchers from the Sea Around Us, a research initiative at the University of British Columbia, supported by The Pew Charitable Trusts, and Vulcan Inc.