Massive under-reporting of catch: Declining stocks of fish
Declining fish stock has been witnessed in past deacdes in the international water as well as in the national water area in the open seas and it has prompted for a serious research to be conducted to find out the hidden reason for this. Jennifer Jacquet, a member of the research team, found out that in Mozambique the official catch reported by the government suggests that each citizen is eating about 3 kg of fish per year. However, when the scientists looked at the catches being made by subsistence fishing, that consumption rate rose to 9 kg a year.
In spite of this three-fold discrepancy, the Mozambique government was using its reported catch to justify selling off fishing permits to EU boats that were coming into Mozambique waters to fish for high-value shrimp, which often leads to substantial bycatch that is thrown overboard as waste fish that further depletes stocks for the local community.
Another study found out that the total amount of fish being caught in the world is significantly under-reported because official statistics do not take into account the substantial catches made by some of the poorest nations that rely on fishing as a staple food.
Scientists have estimated that for more than 50 years the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation has failed to report the huge volumes of fish being caught collectively by small-scale fisheries in its statistics on national catches.The discrepancy is exacerbating the decline in fish stocks by allowing some of the poorest countries to report higher fish stocks than really exist. This permits them to sell off their fishing rights to richer nations which take the highest-value fish.
"We discovered one nation under-reporting its fisheries catches and then realised that this wasn't an isolated case but a problem globally. Everywhere we look, the number of fish being taken from reefs is greater than reported. This news is not only shocking but disheartening," said Daniel Pauly, of the University of British Columbia in Canada.
This makes it obvious that the only fish being reported in the national catches are the ones that are traded and the rest is ignored. So the overall picture is wrong.