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New Research Finds That Official Fish Trade ‘Hugely Underestimates’ Global Catches

Source: Science Daily/University of Salford - October 10, 2017 in Science/Tech

New Research Finds That Official Fish Trade ‘Hugely Underestimates’ Global Catches
Photo: David Merrett/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 2.0)

Conservation of dwindling fish stocks is being severely hampered by poor controls on global trade, according to research published today (Monday, October 9, 2017) in Scientific Reports.

The study carried out by the Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre at the University of Salford looked at global production and trade statistics of the popular ‘snapper’ fishes and uncovered wide inconsistencies in records meant that the officially reported snapper trade may be underestimated by more than 70%.

Major discrepancies were found between imports reported by the USA, the world’s largest consumer of snapper, and exports declared by its chief suppliers – Mexico, Panama and Brazil.

New Zealand reports hefty snapper exports but the study suggests that the traded fish is actually silver seabream – local referred to as ‘snapper’, but belonging to a different fish family. Consequently, global snapper exports are inflated by almost 30%. The discrepancies, they suggest, are likely to happen for other valuable and exploited fish that do not have detailed trade codes, such as groupers, croakers and the orange roughy.

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