The researchers believe that about 109 million metric ton of fish are lost from the oceans per year, which is a big discrepancy compared to the 77 million metric tons fish catch reported on official documents. They believe that this huge gap is the result of the failure of several nations to properly report fishing for artisanal and subsistence purposes, as well as illegal fishing practices. About 9 percent of the world’s fish catch are discarded fish, or those that were once caught, but eventually thrown back by commercial firms.
“The world is withdrawing from a joint bank account of fish without knowing what has been withdrawn or the remaining balance,” said University of British Columbia professor of marine biology Daniel Pauly, study lead, in a press statement. “Better estimating the amount we’re taking out can help ensure there is enough fish to sustain us in the future.”
Conservationists and other experts believe that the numbers are indeed quite disturbing, yet important to help us understand the importance of having accurate global fish catch figures. Such accuracy, they say, could make regulation and preservation initiatives more effective.
“This groundbreaking study confirms that we are taking far more fish from our oceans than the official data suggest,” said Pew Charitable Trusts head of environment initiatives Joshua Reichert. “It’s no longer acceptable to mark down artisanal, subsistence, or bycatch catch data as a zero in the official record books.”