Knowing the patterns of marine resource exploitation and seafood trade may help countries to design their future strategic plans and development policies. To fully understand these patterns, it is necessary to identify where the benefits accumulate, how balanced the arrangements are, and how the pattern is evolving over time. Here the flow of global seafood was traced from locations of capture or production to their countries of consumption using novel approaches and databases. Results indicate an increasing dominance of Asian fleets by the volume of catch from the 1950s to the 2010s, including fishing in the high seas. The majority of landings were by high-income countries’ fishing fleets in their own waters in the 1950s but this pattern was greatly altered by the 2010s, with more equality in landings volume and value by fleets representing different income levels. Results also show that the higher the income of a country, the more valuable seafood it imports compared to its exports and vice versa. In theory, this implies that the lower income countries are exporting high value seafood in part to achieve the broader goal of ending poverty, while achieving the food security goal by retaining and importing lower value seafood. In the context of access arrangements between developed and developing countries, the results allow insights into the consequences of these shifting sources of income may have for goals such as poverty reduction and food security.
Previous studies highlight the winners and losers in fisheries under climate change based on shifts in biomass, species composition and potential catches. Understanding how climate change is likely to alter the fisheries revenues of maritime countries is a crucial next step towards the development of effective socio-economic policy and food sustainability strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Particularly, fish prices and cross-oceans connections through distant water fishing operations may largely modify the projected climate change impacts on fisheries revenues. However, these factors have not formally been considered in global studies. Here, using climate-living marine resources simulation models, we show that global fisheries revenues could drop by 35% more than the projected decrease in catches by the 2050 s under high CO2 emission scenarios. Regionally, the projected increases in fish catch in high latitudes may not translate into increases in revenues because of the increasing dominance of low value fish, and the decrease in catches by these countries’ vessels operating in more severely impacted distant waters. Also, we find that developing countries with high fisheries dependency are negatively impacted. Our results suggest the need to conduct full-fledged economic analyses of the potential economic effects of climate change on global marine fisheries.
Shared fisheries involve fish that are caught in the marine waters of more than one country, or in the high seas. These fisheries are economically and biologically significant, but a global picture of their importance relative to total world fisheries catch and economic value is lacking. We address this gap by undertaking a global-scale analysis of temporal trends in shared fisheries species catch and landed value from 1950 to 2006. We find that (1) the number of countries participating in shared fisheries has doubled in the past 55 yr; (2) the most commonly targeted shared species have shifted from those that were mainly restricted to the North Atlantic to species that are highly migratory and are distributed throughout the world; (3) countries which account for the highest proportion of global shared fish species catch and landed value tend to be large industrial fishing powers, whereas those which are most reliant on shared fisheries at a national scale are mainly smaller developing countries. Overall, our findings indicate the increasing need to accommodate a greater number and diversity of interests, and also consider equity issues in the management and allocation of internationally shared fishery resources.