As marine fisheries resources around the world are increasingly threatened by pollution, climate change, and overfishing, it is more important than ever to know the amount and types of fish and invertebrates being extracted from the marine environment. Fisheries resources, particularly for island countries, provide a crucial source of food and income. However, the very fisheries which depend on these natural goods and services—notably small-scale fisheries—are being under-represented in fisheries statistics. In many of the countries highlighted in this report, the majority of seafood consumed is taken via subsistence fisheries. This non-commercial fishing sector is largely overlooked in statistical collection systems, particularly those of several decades ago, but continues to be under-represented today. In some places this is beginning to change, as the importance of small-scale fisheries to national food security is being recognized.
In many developing countries, which lack the infrastructure and resources to fish their own waters for economic development through trade with external markets, foreign access fees are collected as a key source of revenue. In exchange for a modest fee, foreign fleets are allowed to fish their waters for high valued species. While this provides much needed income for the country, it also threatens the availability of these resources for domestic sustenance.
While there is a range in the quality of fisheries reporting from one country to the next, in almost all countries Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fisheries exist. Fisheries landings statistics, as supplied to the United Nation‘s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), represent mainly the commercial and larger-scale fisheries. Artisanal, subsistence and recreational fisheries are mostly overlooked. Discarded bycatch and baitfish associated with certain fishing techniques are also rarely included in the official statistics.
As a follow up to Fisheries Catch Reconstructions: Islands, Part I, this report continues to reconstruct total marine fisheries catches of island countries around the world from 1950 to present. This edition describes fisheries for island countries in the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans, highlighting the discrepancies that exist between reported landings and likely true catches. The reconstruction approach used here, as in the previous edition, aims to estimate all marine fisheries extractions as a baseline for monitoring and management purposes in the face of continued anthropogenic pressures. The future success of these countries relies, in part, on their ability to keep pace with an increasingly gl0bal economy while maintinaing a healthy supply of resources for domestic purposes.
Full article can be accessed at: Fisheries catch reconstructions: Islands, Part II. Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia