Scientists and policymakers have expressed growing concern about declining global squid stocks, but little has been done to date to target squid fishing activities that are expanding into uncontrolled areas, according to a new international study.
The study, authored by Katherine Seto, assistant professor of environmental studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz, was published in Advances in Science on March 10. It explores the unregulated nature of the global squid fishery in three oceans over a three-year period and how these fisheries continue to grow and shift locations beyond the jurisdiction of management agencies. The research was conducted through a research collaboration between Global Fishing Watch, the Australian National Center for Ocean Resources and Security at the University of Wollongong and the Japanese Fisheries Research and Training Agency.
Using satellite imagery, vessel tracking and tracking data, the study found that fishing conducted by this globalized squid fishery was extensive, catching between 149,000 and 251,000 vessel days per year, and that effort increased by 68% over the 2017–2020 study period. .
“These squid fishing vessels are highly mobile, fishing many oceans in a given year,” Seto said. “While there are some conservation and management measures in place to regulate this type of fishery, our research found that operators may take advantage of these fragmented regulations to maximize resource extraction. To address this, we need to address the factors that promote the development and expansion of fishing efforts and increase data sharing and communication between management agencies’.
The study found that these squid fisheries are largely (86%) fishing in unregulated areas, accounting for 4.4 million hours of total fishing time between 2017 and 2020. While unregulated fishing is not necessarily illegal, it presents challenges for fisheries sustainability and resource equity. and has been linked to questionable human rights and labor practices.
“By synthesizing data from multiple sources, we have created a robust picture of the fishing activity of offshore squid fleets. Our analysis highlights the interconnectedness of the fishing grounds used by the fleets,” said Nate Miller, head of applied research at Global Fishing Watch. and co-author of the study. “It demonstrates the critical importance of comprehensive data sharing agreements between regional agencies to improve understanding of these vessel movements and quantify their impact on squid stocks.”
A major challenge has been vessels fishing freely between regulated and unregulated areas, catching huge quantities of squid with little to no oversight or data reporting. Fishing in uncontrolled areas has also steadily increased and appears to be preferred despite concerns about the state of stocks, according to the study.
“These unregulated fishing activities require urgent action. They are occurring in our global commons, shared by all, yet few receive any benefit, and neighboring coastal states are increasingly concerned about the impact on their shared fish stocks,” said co-author study Quentin. Hanich, from the University of Wollongong.
Masanori Miyahara, co-author and adviser to Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, agrees.
“These catches are often not reported to domestic or international management agencies, nor incorporated into estimates of fishing effort, harvest or stock status,” Miyahara said. “While it is good to see both the North Pacific Fisheries Commission and the South Pacific Regional Fisheries Management Organization strengthening their management, urgent responses are also needed in the Indian and Atlantic Oceans to ensure fleets do not simply circumvent regulation moving elsewhere.”
As we experience increased demand for seafood products worldwide, we need to understand the factors that facilitate the increase and expansion of fishing efforts to address the challenges of unregulated fishing, according to the study.
“Like all activities in the global commons, fisheries on the high seas should be fully regulated. However, regional bodies empowered to adopt management measures are limited by a handful of states whose self-interests are best served when such activities are unregulated or become with few limits,” said Osvaldo Urrutia S., professor of international law at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso in Chile.
“The global squid fishery shows how important it is to strengthen regional management of high seas resources and to continue international calls for states and regional actors to take this challenge seriously.”
Katherine L. Seto, Fishing Through the Cracks: The Unruly Nature of the Global Squid Fishery, Advances in Science (2023). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.add8125. www.science.org/doi/10.1126/sciadv.add8125
Provided by Global Fishing Watch
Reference: Where does your squid come from? Unregulated waters likely, according to a new international study (2023, March 10) Retrieved March 11, 2023, from https://phys.org/news/2023-03-squid-unregulated-international.html
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