High seas fisheries play a negligible role in addressing global food security

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Science Advances  08 Aug 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 8, eaat8351
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aat8351

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  • Non-consumptive benefits of marine biodiversity are critical to global seafood security
    • Ahmed S. Khan, Senior Researcher, IIED - International Institute for Environment and Development
    • Other Contributors:
      • Eugenia Merayo, Researcher, IIED - International Institute for Environment and Development

    Schiller et al. 2018 has estimated and highlighted a very important dimension of fisheries seafood trade by focusing on the high seas (1) and areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ). What is missing from such an analysis are linkages with non-consumptive use benefits and collateral impacts on marine ecosystem services. Economic arguments for closures in the high seas has been made for such ecological reasons (2), also recognising gene connectivity and ‘subsidies’ to coastal ecosystems where most of the breeding and nursery grounds are found (3). Enhancing such marine refuges sand sanctuaries are important for food security and the sustainability of migratory and straddling stocks (4). With changing climate and ocean acidification, more stocks will migrate creating management dilemmas such as illegal unregulated and unreported fishing. So, aligning the right incentives and fiscal instruments in the high seas for fisheries to be viable and sustainable (5) should rather be the focus for global seafood security as both consumptive and non-consumptive use benefits need to be better governed.

    1. L. Schiller, M. Bailey, J. Jacquet and E. Sala, High seas fisheries play a negligible role in addressing global food security. Sci. Adv. 4 (8) (2018)
    2. C. White and C.Costello, Close the High Seas to Fishing? PLoS Biol 12 (3) (2014)
    3. R.K. Cowen, C.B. Paris and A. Srinivasan, Scaling of connectivity in marine populations. Science 311 (5760), 522-527 (2005)

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    Competing Interests: None declared.

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