BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Fishing has been a huge part of mankind’s survival for far, far longer than recorded history. So of course, someone has to take care not to overexert the fish populations, so that we can keep doing it.
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization is there for a reason. They have tasked themselves with eliminating world hunger and poverty, as well as with the management of natural resources. It’s the last part that we’re interested in in this case.
A study compiled through the collaboration of 50 different institutions from around the world and published in the journal Nature Communications shows that the organization has been receiving misleading reports on the state of international overfishing for more than two decades.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization’s data, the amount of worldwide fish caught by mankind peaked in 1996 with a reported quantity of 85 million metric tons per year. Ever since, it has been declining at a steady pace.
With the new compiled data, the Food and Agriculture Organization realized that the figures were severely underreported, with fishing peaking in 1996 with a quantity of 130 million metric tons per year, and that it has actually been declining sharply, at a rate of 1.2 million metric tons per year.
The study came as the researchers wanted to get a more accurate report on the state of international fishing because of what they assumed were errors caused by illegal fishing, returned fish, and recreational fishing. What they found was much more disturbing.
After the data compiling was over, the Food and Agriculture Organization found out that international catches were 50% higher than reported, with 2010 showing a reported 77 million metric tons compared to the actual 109 million.
However, this doesn’t only spell bad news, as the Organization also reports some good is to come from the report.
The bad news you can probably guess on your own, as the highly underreported numbers led to a severe decrease in worldwide fishery catches due to overfishing.
Previously, it was believed that the drop in fish catches was due to country laws or something or the sort, but when they excluded the factors, they realized that it was because of fish numbers dwindling.
The good news, however, is that fishing is much more important than the numbers used to show, meaning that we have a much higher food safety than previously believed.
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