Researchers have mapped the scale and patterns of change in global marine fishing for the last century and a half.
IMAS Professor Reg Watson led the global study, Mapping nearly a century and a half of global marine fishing: 1869-2015, which used historical data dating back to 1869 and new satellite technologies to map and visualise global fishing patterns.
“Compared with the previous blurry maps, the new techniques have provided a sharp image of the fishing patterns providing valuable wild-caught seafoods,” Professor Watson said.
The study led to a new dataset, which not only separates industrial fishing post-WWII from other fishing, but documents by country and associated fishing gear, the entire catch, including estimates of illegal, unreported and discarded catch. (Images: Reg Watson)
“Fishing has co-evolved with humans and has been vital to our survival since prehistoric times.
“Globally, we have a lot of information on marine fishing from the 1950s and beyond, but no one has gone back and mapped prior to this to get an overall picture.
“It’s invaluable to get an all-inclusive overview and see how things have changed over time.”
Key findings from the study include:
“Much can be learnt from looking at historical patterns of fishing, and they can help inform decisions vital to maintaining the marine resources and their environments that mankind depends on,” Professor Watson said.