Understanding Fisheries through Historical Reconstructions: Implications for Fishery Management and Policy

D. Al-Abdulrazzak, D. Zeller, D. Pauly

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperChapterpeer-review


Global fisheries catch statistics are often incomplete. The contribution of many sectors, including small-scale fisheries, illegal catches, and discards are frequently absent from or underreported in statistics submitted annually by member countries of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). This incomplete accounting in official statistics, and the resulting distorted historical trends, impairs our understanding of the management and policy prescriptions necessary for fisheries sustainability. This chapter describes an approach to retroactively estimate catches where comprehensive time series data are lacking. Data are gathered from nontraditional sources, such as unpublished studies, gray literature, published studies, and surveys; or from sources unrelated to fisheries, such as satellite imagery. We present examples of the discrepancy between reported and reconstructed catches and discuss the implications of such misreporting for management and fisheries policy on national, regional, and global scales.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMarine historical ecology in conservation: Applying the past to manage for the future
EditorsJ.N. Kittinger, L. McClenachan, K. Gedan, L.K. Blight
PublisherUniversity of California Press
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-520-95960-6
ISBN (Print)978-0-520-27694-9
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


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