Until now, there has been only one source of data on global fishery catches: information reported to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations by member countries. An extensive, ten-year study conducted by The Sea Around Us Project of the University of British Columbia shows that this catch data is fundamentally misleading. Many countries underreport the amount of fish caught (some by as much as 500%), while others such as China significantly overreport their catches. The Global Atlas of Marine Fisheries is the first and only book to provide accurate, country-by-country fishery data. This groundbreaking information has been gathered from independent sources by the world's foremost fisheries experts, and edited by Daniel Pauly and Dirk Zeller of the Sea Around Us Project. The Atlas includes one-page reports on 273 countries and their territories, plus fourteen topical global chapters. National reports describe the state of the country's fishery, by sector; the policies, politics, and social factors affecting it; and potential solutions. The global chapters address cross-cutting issues, from the economics of fisheries to the impacts of mariculture. Extensive maps and graphics offer attractive and accessible visual representations. While it has long been clear that the world's oceans are in trouble, the lack of reliable data on fishery catches has obscured the scale, and nuances, of the crisis. The atlas shows that, globally, catches have declined rapidly since the 1980s, signaling an even more critical situation than previously understood. The Global Atlas of Marine Fisheries provides a comprehensive picture of our current predicament and steps that can be taken to ease it. For researchers, students, fishery managers, professionals in the fishing industry, and all others concerned with the status of the world's fisheries, the Atlas will be an indispensable resource.
Daniel Pauly is a professor in the Institute for Oceans and Fisheries (formerly Fisheries Centre) and Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, and Principal Investigator for the Sea Around Us, a scientific collaboration between the University of British Columbia and the Pew Environmental Group. He is author of Five Easy Pieces: The Impact of Fisheries on Marine Ecosystems, and coauthor with Jay Maclean of In a Perfect Ocean: The State of Fisheries and Ecosystems in the North Atlantic Ocean. Dirk Zeller is the Senior Researcher and Executive Director of the Sea Around Us Project. He has produced over 300 scientific contributions in journals, book chapters, and research reports.