High seas fisheries play a negligible role in addressing global food security

Authors: Laurenne Schiller, Megan Bailey, Jennifer Jacquet, and Enric Sala

Abstract
Recent international negotiations have highlighted the need to protect marine diversity on the high seas—the ocean area beyond national jurisdiction. However, restricting fishing access on the high seas raises many concerns, including how such restrictions would affect food security. We analyze high seas catches and trade data to determine the contribution of the high seas catch to global seafood production, the main species caught on the high seas, and the primary markets where these species are sold. By volume, the total catch from the high seas accounts for 4.2% of annual marine capture fisheries production and 2.4% of total seafood production, including freshwater fisheries and aquaculture. Thirty-nine fish and invertebrate species account for 99.5% of the high seas targeted catch, but only one species, Antarctic toothfish, is caught exclusively on the high seas. The remaining catch, which is caught both on the high seas and in national jurisdictions, is made up primarily of tunas, billfishes, small pelagic fishes, pelagic squids, toothfish, and krill. Most high seas species are destined for upscale food and supplement markets in developed, food-secure countries, such as Japan, the European Union, and the United States, suggesting that, in aggregate, high seas fisheries play a negligible role in ensuring global food security.

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Watch over Antarctic waters

Commentary led by Cassandra Brooks, and also David Ainley, Peter Abrams, Paul Dayton, Robert Hofman, and Donald Siniff at Nature.

In a rapidly changing climate, fisheries in the Southern Ocean must be managed cautiously…

Read it here.

Defining denial and sentient seafood — a response to Sneddon et al.

Hooked Follow Up III:  Gone Monster Fishing
NGCUS  - Ep Code: 3867Sneddon et al. address the scientists who reject the empirical evidence on fish sentience, calling them “sceptics” and their work “denial”. This is the first article to frame the question of fish sentience in these terms, and it provides an obvious opening for social science and humanities research in the science of fish sentience. It is also worth asking what practical changes in the lives of fish might arise from the mounting evidence of their sentience. I suggest that the relationship between sentience and our sense of moral obligation is not as clear as we often assume. Read the full response here.
Continue reading “Defining denial and sentient seafood — a response to Sneddon et al.”