Accurate catches and the sustainability of coral reef fisheries

Daniel Pauly, Dirk Zeller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

While there might be differences in details, any definition of 'sustainability' must include an element that remains similar over time. For example, this applies to the catches of coral reef fisheries, which cannot be sustainable if exhibiting a strong ascending or descending trend. Thus, despite claims of the efficacy of 'data-less' management, at least time series of the catch of coral reef fisheries must be known for valid inferences on their status to be drawn. By contrasting the official and the 'reconstructed' coral reef catches of four small island states (Fiji and Tonga in the Pacific, and Jamaica and St Kitts & Nevis in the Caribbean), we show, however, that official catch data, as made available to and by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) not only strongly underestimate catches (from 4 to 17 times for 1950-2010), but also suggest increasing catch trends in 3 of 4 cases, that is, the very opposite of the trend resulting from the bottom-up catch reconstructions. Some implications of these findings, which we think have general currency, are presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-51
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Opinion in Environmental Sustainability
Volume7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes

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fishery
coral reef
sustainability
trend
small island state
FAO
catch statistics
Polynesia
Jamaica
Food and Agricultural Organization
Melanesia
currency
United Nations
time series
UNO
reconstruction
agriculture
food
organization
management

Cite this

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Accurate catches and the sustainability of coral reef fisheries. / Pauly, Daniel; Zeller, Dirk.

In: Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Vol. 7, 04.2014, p. 44-51.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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