Research ArticleENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES

Wealthy countries dominate industrial fishing

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Science Advances  01 Aug 2018:
Vol. 4, no. 8, eaau2161
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aau2161

Abstract

The patterns by which different nations share global fisheries influence outcomes for food security, trajectories of economic development, and competition between industrial and small-scale fishing. We report patterns of industrial fishing effort for vessels flagged to higher- and lower-income nations, in marine areas within and beyond national jurisdiction, using analyses of high-resolution fishing vessel activity data. These analyses reveal global dominance of industrial fishing by wealthy nations. Vessels flagged to higher-income nations, for example, are responsible for 97% of the trackable industrial fishing on the high seas and 78% of such effort within the national waters of lower-income countries. These publicly accessible vessel tracking data have important limitations. However, insights from these new analyses can begin to strategically inform important international- and national-level efforts underway now to ensure equitable and sustainable sharing of fisheries.

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