Sea Around Us
FormationJuly 1999 (1999-07)
HeadquartersVancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Official language
English, French
Principal Investigator
Daniel Pauly

The Sea Around Us is an international research initiative and a member of the Global Fisheries Cluster at the University of British Columbia. The Sea Around Us assesses the impact of fisheries on the marine ecosystems[1][2] of the world and offers mitigating solutions to a range of stakeholders. To achieve this, the Sea Around Us presents fisheries and fisheries-related data at spatial scales that have ecological and policy relevance, such as by Exclusive Economic Zones, High Seas areas, Large Marine Ecosystems and Ecosystems.

All spatialized data are visualized either graphically or mapped, and all data can be downloaded. Global fisheries catches from 1950 to the present are available, under explicit consideration of coral reefs, seamounts, estuaries and other critical habitats of fish and marine invertebrates. The data presented, which are all freely available, are meant to support studies of global fisheries trends and the development of sustainable, ecosystem-based fisheries policies.

In the early 2000s, members of the Sea Around Us uncovered that China[3] was overestimating its catches and showed that, when such distortions were removed from overall fisheries catches, global fisheries were actually declining since the late 1980s. The Sea Around Us also showed that the biomass of large fish in the North Atlantic[1] is one-tenth of what it was only a century ago. Aquaculture,[4][5] according to another study with members from the Project, cannot be expected to compensate for overfishing but is instead likely to exacerbate the problem due to the reliance on wild fish for fishmeal.[6] In other words, without serious long-term planning, the oceans might get a lot worse before they get better.[7][8]

In 2016, members of the Sea Around Us, using reconstructed global catch data[9] that combine officially reported landings data with comprehensive estimates of unreported landings and discards, documented that, from 1950 to 2010, global catches were around 50% higher than reported data suggest. Furthermore, total catches seem to be declining faster from their peak catch in the mid-1990s than reported data would suggest.

The good news is that the discrepancy between reported data and estimated total catches is decreasing in more recent years, meaning that the comprehensiveness of data reported by countries seems to be improving.

All this information was compiled in the Global Atlas of Marine Fisheries,[10] a 520-page book published in October 2016 by Island Press..

The Sea Around Us also communicates to broad audiences to convey the urgency to:

The Sea Around Us was initiated in collaboration with The Pew Charitable Trusts in 1999, and in 2014, the Sea Around Us began a collaboration with The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and its executive arm, Vulcan Inc., to provide African and Asian countries with more accurate and comprehensive fisheries data, and to redesign and revamp the Sea Around Us website.

Later on, in 2017, the Sea Around Us started a long-term collaboration with the Minderoo Foundation, which is the parent organization of the Walk Free Foundation. One of the first products of this collaboration was the paper "Modern slavery and the race to fish".[16]

See also


  1. ^ a b Zeller, D.; Palomares, M. L. D.; Tavakolie, A.; Ang, M.; Belhabib, D.; Cheung, W. W. L.; Lam, V. W. Y.; Sy, E.; Tsui, G. (2016). "Still catching attention: Sea Around Us reconstructed global catch data, their spatial expression and public accessibility". Marine Policy. 70: 145–152. doi:10.1016/j.marpol.2016.04.046. ISSN 0308-597X.
  2. ^ Pauly, Daniel (2007). "The Sea Around Us Project: Documenting and Communicating Global Fisheries Impacts on Marine Ecosystems". Ambio: A Journal of the Human Environment. 36 (4): 290–295. doi:10.1579/0044-7447(2007)36[290:TSAUPD]2.0.CO;2. ISSN 0044-7447. PMID 17626465. S2CID 8422371.
  3. ^ Watson, R., L. Pang and D. Pauly. 2001. The marine fisheries of China: development and reported catches. Fisheries Centre Research Report. 9(2), 50 p.
  4. ^ Pauly, D; Sea Around Us (2009). Fishing and Aquaculture, p. 69 In: Visual Atlas of the World. Washington, D.C.: National Geographic. p. 69. ISBN 978-1426218385.
  5. ^ Pauly, Daniel; Christensen, Villy; Guénette, Sylvie; Pitcher, Tony J.; Sumaila, U. Rashid; Walters, Carl J.; Watson, R.; Zeller, Dirk (2002). "Towards sustainability in world fisheries". Nature. 418 (6898): 689–695. Bibcode:2002Natur.418..689P. doi:10.1038/nature01017. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 12167876. S2CID 2299135.
  6. ^ Cashion, Tim; Manach, Frédéric Le; Zeller, Dirk; Pauly, Daniel (2017). "Most fish destined for fishmeal production are food-grade fish". Fish and Fisheries. 18 (5): 837–844. doi:10.1111/faf.12209. ISSN 1467-2979. S2CID 90572626.
  7. ^ Pauly, Daniel; Alder, Jackie; Bennett, Elena; Christensen, Villy; Tyedmers, Peter; Watson, Reg (2003-11-21). "The Future for Fisheries". Science. 302 (5649): 1359–1361. doi:10.1126/science.1088667. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 14631031. S2CID 35026762.
  8. ^ Palomares, M.L.D. and D. Pauly. 2018. What and how much have we caught? p. 60-61 In: M. Grooten and R.E.A. Almond (Editors). Living Planet Report – 2018: Aiming Higher. WWF, Gland, Switzerland. ISBN 978-2-940529-90-2
  9. ^ Pauly, Daniel; Zeller, Dirk (2016). "Catch reconstructions reveal that global marine fisheries catches are higher than reported and declining". Nature Communications. 7 (1): 10244. Bibcode:2016NatCo...710244P. doi:10.1038/ncomms10244. ISSN 2041-1723. PMC 4735634. PMID 26784963.
  10. ^ Pauly, Daniel (2016-10-06). Global atlas of marine fisheries: a critical appraisal of catches and ecosystem impacts. Pauly, D. (Daniel), Zeller, Dirk, 1961-. Washington, D.C. ISBN 9781610916264. OCLC 969053869.((cite book)): CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link)
  11. ^ Pauly, D. R. Watson and D. Zeller. 2012. Where fisheries have been, and why they are going. Chapter 4, p. 15-26 In: K. Soeters (ed.) Sea the Truth: Essays on Overfishing, Pollution and Climate Change. Nicolaas G. Pierson Foundation, Amsterdam.
  12. ^ Pauly, Daniel; Tyedmers, Peter; Watson, Reg; Teh, Louise; Sumaila, Ussif Rashid (2008-09-01). "Fuel price increase, subsidies, overcapacity, and resource sustainability". ICES Journal of Marine Science. 65 (6): 832–840. doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsn070. ISSN 1054-3139.
  13. ^ Cullis-Suzuki, Sarika; Pauly, Daniel (2010-03-03). "Marine Protected Area Costs as "Beneficial" Fisheries Subsidies: A Global Evaluation". Coastal Management. 38 (2): 113–121. Bibcode:2010CoasM..38..113C. doi:10.1080/08920751003633086. ISSN 0892-0753. S2CID 154873610.
  14. ^ Alder, Jacqueline; Campbell, Brooke; Karpouzi, Vasiliki; Kaschner, Kristin; Pauly, Daniel (2008). "Forage Fish: From Ecosystems to Markets". Annual Review of Environment and Resources. 33 (1): 153–166. doi:10.1146/annurev.environ.33.020807.143204. ISSN 1543-5938. S2CID 15676801.
  15. ^ Jacquet, Jennifer; Pauly, Daniel (2008). "Funding Priorities: Big Barriers to Small-Scale Fisheries". Conservation Biology. 22 (4): 832–835. doi:10.1111/j.1523-1739.2008.00978.x. ISSN 1523-1739. PMID 18637910. S2CID 18653469.
  16. ^ Tickler, David; Meeuwig, Jessica J.; Bryant, Katharine; David, Fiona; Forrest, John A. H.; Gordon, Elise; Larsen, Jacqueline Joudo; Oh, Beverly; Pauly, Daniel (December 2018). "Modern slavery and the race to fish". Nature Communications. 9 (1): 4643. Bibcode:2018NatCo...9.4643T. doi:10.1038/s41467-018-07118-9. ISSN 2041-1723. PMC 6220235. PMID 30405109.