Synthesis of underreported small-scale fisheries catch in Pacific island waters

D. Zeller, S. Harper, K. Zylich, D. Pauly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

80 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We synthesize fisheries catch reconstruction studies for 25 Pacific island countries, states and territories, which compare estimates of total domestic catches with officially reported catch data. We exclude data for the large-scale tuna fleets, which have largely foreign beneficial ownership, even when flying Pacific flags. However, we recognize the considerable financial contributions derived from foreign access or charter fees for Pacific host countries. The reconstructions for the 25 entities from 1950 to 2010 suggested that total domestic catches were 2.5 times the data reported to FAO. This discrepancy was largest in early periods (1950: 6.4 times), while for 2010, total catches were 1.7 times the reported data. There was a significant difference in trend between reported and reconstructed catches since 2000, with reconstructed catches declining strongly since their peak in 2000. Total catches increased from 110,000 t yr−1 in 1950 (of which 17,400 t were reported) to a peak of over 250,000 t yr−1 in 2000, before declining to around 200,000 t yr−1 by 2010. This decrease is driven by a declining artisanal (small-scale commercial) catch, which was not compensated for by increasing domestic industrial (large-scale commercial) catches. The artisanal fisheries appear to be declining from a peak of 97,000 t yr−1 in 1992 to less than 50,000 t yr−1 by 2010. However, total catches were dominated by subsistence (small-scale, non-commercial) fisheries, which accounted for 69 % of total catches, with the majority missing from the reported data. Artisanal catches accounted for 22 %, while truly domestic industrial fisheries accounted for only 6 % of total catches. The smallest component is the recreational (small-scale, non-commercial and largely for leisure) sector (2 %), which, although small in catch, is likely of economic importance in some areas due to its direct link to tourism income.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-39
Number of pages15
JournalCoral Reefs
Volume34
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Synthesis of underreported small-scale fisheries catch in Pacific island waters'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this