Implementing Reliable Assessment Solutions Across the Globe
More than 85 percent of marine fisheries are depleted, overfished or being fished at their biological limit. Current inefficiencies in management practices cost the world’s economy an estimated $50 billion a year as well as enough protein to provide up to 300 million people with their minimum daily requirement.
Fisheries that have reliable stock assessments tend to be better managed. But of the 10,000 fisheries in the world, fewer than 440 (mostly in upper-income countries and in top-traded fish like tuna) are regularly assessed with robust scientific methods. Meanwhile, fish landings have skyrocketed in the developing world — nearly an 80% growth since 1988. The majority of these stocks are data-limited, unassessed, poorly managed and far more likely to be overfished.
The consequences of overfishing and poor fisheries management are profound — for the more than 260 million people on Earth who directly or indirectly earn their livelihoods in this sector; for present and future food supplies as human population grows to more than 9 billion this century; and for biodiversity and ecosystems.
New, less resource-intensive assessment techniques for data-limited fisheries have been developed that could help advance science-based decision-making and lead to sustainable fishery management. But implementation of these techniques has lagged across the globe, in part because each management scenario requires not just 1) an understanding of available assessment tools, but also 2) an understanding of how to account for uncertainty in model outputs and biases in data, and 3) experience in evaluating tradeoffs between multiple objectives. Moreover, many fisheries lack a concerted data-collection protocol for assessment and management purposes.
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