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Global Assessments of Fishery Status need Better Data more than Better Models

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posted on 09.10.2020, 01:15 authored by Dan OvandoDan Ovando, Ray HilbornRay Hilborn, Cole Monnahan, Merrill Rudd, Rishi Sharma, James ThorsonJames Thorson, Yannick Rousseau, Yimin Ye
Assessments of the global state of fisheries play an important role in tracking the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. While we have reliable estimates of stock status for fisheries accounting for 49% of global catch, our knowledge of the state of the remaining 51%, the worlds 'unassessed' fisheries, is poor. Numerous high-profile publications have produced estimates of the global status of these unassessed fisheries, but limited quantity and quality of data along with methodological differences have produced counterintuitive and conflicting results. Here, we show that despite numerous efforts, our understanding of the status of global fisheries remains poor, even when new sources of broadly available data are added. Obtaining accurate estimates of stock status for the world's fisheries depends on prioritizing the collection of high-priority data at a global scale, not on the development of new modeling methods alone.

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