Study: Arctic Fishing Underreported

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Jacob Resneck/KMXT

Researchers in Canada say Arctic nations have been dramatically underreporting their fishing activity in the extreme north. A study released earlier this year from the Fisheries Centre at the University of British Columbia estimated that the amount of fish caught between 1950 and 2006 is 75 times higher than actually reported to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Administration which tracks global fisheries.

The report’s lead author is fisheries scientist Dirk Zeller in Vancouver. He heads the Sea Around Us Project which has been studying fishing’s global impact on marine ecosystems for more than a decade.

— arctic fishing 1 :27 "Because we work globally … for the Arctic."

Zeller says researchers suspected the zero catch numbers reported by the U.S. and Canada couldn’t be right. In the case of the United States, his research team contacted fisheries officials in Alaska and found that there are indeed commercial and subsistence fisheries in the Arctic that aren’t showing up.

— arctic fishing 2 :59 "The Alaska Department … something is missing."

There’s also a political dimension to this as these same nations have competing territorial claims over Arctic waters. But Zeller says not reporting fishing can undercut individual claims, such as Canada’s claim to parts of the famed Northwest Passage as territorial waters.

— arctic fishing 3 :50 "If for example … recreational fisheries."

In order to better understand the Arctic Sea, Zeller says all nations need to do a better job at reporting its activities. That’s the message researchers are trying to convey.

— arctic fishing 4 :20 "We need to account … for our project."

There’s a link to the Sea Around Us Project’s website on our website, KMXT dot ORG.

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