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Evolution of global marine fishing fleets and the response of fished resources

Rousseau, Y ORCID: 0000-0003-0765-7518, Watson, RA ORCID: 0000-0001-7201-8865, Blanchard, JL ORCID: 0000-0003-0532-4824 and Fulton, EA 2019 , 'Evolution of global marine fishing fleets and the response of fished resources' , Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of The United States of America, vol. 116, no. 25 , pp. 12238-12243 , doi: 10.1073/pnas.1820344116.

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Previous reconstructions of marine fishing fleets have aggregateddata without regard to the artisanal and industrial sectors. Enginepower has often been estimated from subsets of the developedworld, leading to inflated results. We disaggregated data intothree sectors, artisanal (unpowered/powered) and industrial, andreconstructed the evolution of the fleet and its fishing effort. Wefound that the global fishing fleet doubled between 1950 and2015 – from 1.7 to 3.7 million vessels. This has been driven bysubstantial expansion of the motorized fleet, particularly of thepowered-artisanal fleet. By 2015, 68% of the global fishing fleetwas motorized. While the global fleet is dominated by small poweredvessels under 50kW, they contribute only 27% of the globalengine power, which has increased from 25 to 145GW (combinedpowered-artisanal and industrial fleets). Alongside an expansionof the fleets, the effective catch per unit of effort (CPUE) hasconsistently decreased since 1950, showing the increasing pressureof fisheries on the ocean resources. The effective CPUE of mostcountries in 2015 was a fifth of its 1950’s value, which was comparedto a global decline of abundance. There are signs, however,of stabilization and more effective management in recent yearswith a reduction in fleet sizes in developed countries.Based onhistorical patterns, and allowing for the slowing rate of expansion,one million more motorized vessels could join the global fleet bymid-century, as developing countries continue to transition awayfrom subsistence fisheries, challenging sustainable use of fisheriesresources.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Rousseau, Y and Watson, RA and Blanchard, JL and Fulton, EA
Keywords: global fisheries, fishing effort, catch per unit of effort, fishing power, artisanal, industrial
Journal or Publication Title: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of The United States of America
Publisher: Natl Acad Sciences
ISSN: 0027-8424
DOI / ID Number: 10.1073/pnas.1820344116
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2019 The Authors

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