Blue shark (Prionace glauca). Photo by Mark Conlin-NMFS, Wikimedia Commons.

Hidden behind bad numbers: Official stats mask almost all shark and ray species caught in the Mediterranean and Black seas

Blue shark (Prionace glauca). Photo by Mark Conlin-NMFS, Wikimedia Commons.

Blue shark (Prionace glauca). Photo by Mark Conlin-NMFS, Wikimedia Commons.

Shark and ray species commonly caught in the Mediterranean and Black seas are not being reported in official statistics, new research from the Sea Around Us initiative at the University of British Columbia shows.

A new study published in Marine Policy reveals that 97 per cent of the sharks and rays caught and brought to market domestically by fleets from the European, North African and Middle Eastern countries that surround these seas are not reported by species.

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Fisher, Solomon Islands. Photo by Jan van der Ploeg, WorldFish, Flickr.

The importance of coastal fisheries

Fisher, Solomon Islands. Photo by Jan van der Ploeg, WorldFish, Flickr.

Fisher, Solomon Islands. Photo by Jan van der Ploeg, WorldFish, Flickr.

The Sea Around Us’ Deng Palomares and Daniel Pauly have just added a new item to their long list of publications: a chapter in Elsevier’s book Coast and Estuaries: The Future.

In their contribution, titled “Coastal fisheries: the past, present and possible futures,” Palomares and Pauly highlight the importance of coastal fisheries by pointing out that they made up 55 per cent of global marine fisheries catch from 2010 to 2014.

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Pellizar 133. Photo by O roxo Flickr.

Carbon dioxide emissions from global fisheries larger than previously thought

Pellizar 133. Photo by O roxo Flickr.

Pellizar 133. Photo by O roxo Flickr.

Carbon dioxide emissions from the fuel burnt by fishing boats are 30 per cent higher than previously reported, researchers with the Sea Around Us initiative at the University of British Columbia and the Sea Around Us – Indian Ocean at the University of Western Australia have found.

In a study published in Marine Policy, the scientists show that 207 million tonnes of CO2 were released into the atmosphere by marine fishing vessels only in 2016. This is almost the same amount of CO2 emitted by 51 coal-fired power plants in the same timeframe.

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A pair of One-spot Pullers (Chromis hypsilepis) preparing to spawn. Home Bommie, Ulladulla, NSW. Photo by Richard Ling, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

Most female fish grow bigger than the males: deal with it!

A pair of One-spot Pullers (Chromis hypsilepis) preparing to spawn. Home Bommie, Ulladulla, NSW. Photo by Richard Ling, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

A pair of One-spot Pullers (Chromis hypsilepis) preparing to spawn. Home Bommie, Ulladulla, NSW. Photo by Richard Ling, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0.

In over 80 per cent of fish species, the females, including those known as ‘big old fecund females,’ or BOFFS, grow bigger than the males. This long-established fact is difficult to explain with the conventional view of fish spawning being a drain on the ‘energy’ available for growth. If this view were correct, females, which are defined by their larger reproductive effort, would always remain smaller than males.

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