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Estimating the worldwide extent of illegal fishing


Agnew, DJ and Pearce, J and Pramod, G and Peatman, T and Watson, RA and Beddington, JR and Pitcher, TJ, Estimating the worldwide extent of illegal fishing, PLoS ONE, 4, (2) pp. unknown. ISSN 1932-6203 (2009) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004570


Illegal and unreported fishing contributes to overexploitation of fish stocks and is a hindrance to the recovery of fish populations and ecosystems. This study is the first to undertake a world-wide analysis of illegal and unreported fishing. Reviewing the situation in 54 countries and on the high seas, we estimate that lower and upper estimates of the total value of current illegal and unreported fishing losses worldwide are between $10 bn and $23.5 bn annually, representing between 11 and 26 million tonnes. Our data are of sufficient resolution to detect regional differences in the level and trend of illegal fishing over the last 20 years, and we can report a significant correlation between governance and the level of illegal fishing. Developing countries are most at risk from illegal fishing, with total estimated catches in West Africa being 40% higher than reported catches. Such levels of exploitation severely hamper the sustainable management of marine ecosystems. Although there have been some successes in reducing the level of illegal fishing in some areas, these developments are relatively recent and follow growing international focus on the problem. This paper provides the baseline against which successful action to curb illegal fishing can be judged. © 2009 Agnew et al.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Africa; article; Atlantic islands; developing country; fishing; government regulation; illegal fishing; marine environment; Pacific islands; regionalization; trend study
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Fisheries sciences
Research Field:Aquaculture and fisheries stock assessment
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - wild caught
Objective Field:Wild caught fin fish (excl. tuna)
UTAS Author:Watson, RA (Professor Reginald Watson)
ID Code:83750
Year Published:2009
Web of Science® Times Cited:547
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2013-03-21
Last Modified:2013-03-21

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