HIGH SEAS FISHING
Vessel technology reveal companies fishing in waters outside national jurisdiction
Approximately 100 companies account for more than one-third of high seas fishing
- The study is the first to link companies to fishing activity in these largely unregulated areas
- Approximately 100 companies accounted for more than one-third of high seas fishing
- The findings can be important for governments, management agencies, civil society organisations and supply chain actors to enhance transparency and establish better policies
HIGH STAKES: A team of researchers including Henrik Österblom and Guillermo Ortuño Crespo from the centre have used satellite data and other analytical tools to identify companies fishing in high seas—waters that lie outside of national jurisdiction where fishing has raised fears about environmental and labor violations.
The study, which appears in the journal One Earth, is the first to link companies to fishing activity in these largely unregulated areas.
There is a lot of concern about companies that operate on the high seas, simply because there they are beyond the reach of any nation’s laws and regulations,” says Jennifer Jacquet, an associate professor at New York University and lead author of the study.
"By connecting those boats with specific companies, this study takes a first step in enhancing transparency—we now know a lot more about who is profiting from fish catches in the global commons."
Co-author Henrik Österblom believe the findings can be important for governments, management agencies, civil society organisations and supply chain actors to enhance transparency and establish better policies.
This is a first step towards increased knowledge about what is happening in some of the most remote places on Earth. With these new insights we know better who we should engage with in order to achieve better stewardship of the high seas.
Henrik Österblom, co-author
100 companies dominate
Species caught on the high seas are fished by industrial fleets and destined mainly for high-end markets in the U.S and Europe. Past assessments of high seas fish populations show that fishing in these waters has led to extraordinary declines in the abundance of many open-ocean species, including several species of tuna, swordfish, and marlin.
While fish catches are reported by nations, many companies catch and profit from fish in the global ocean, where fishing is subject to few regulations because the high seas lie beyond national jurisdiction.
High seas fishing is notably concentrated among a small number of entities. The Korean companies Sajo Group and Dongwon, which owns the U.S. subsidiary Starkist, were in the top 10 of the most active corporations on the high seas, along with a handful of Chinese corporations and one U.S. corporation based in Hawaii.
Approximately 100 companies, based in the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Taiwan, Russia, Spain, the Netherlands, and South Korea, among other nations, accounted for more than one-third of high seas fishing during the studied period.
General news | 2023-02-02
Three quick questions for Marcus Lundstedt, our new head of communications
We welcome Marcus Lundstedt, the centre's new head of communications, and have a quick chat with him about his new role
Research news | 2023-01-30
The best way to deal with shocks is by combining diverse responses
Humankind’s best chance to deal with looming turbulences and crises is by diversifying response strategies
Research news | 2023-01-30
Policymakers need to work more closely with researchers to fight the global food crisis
We are facing the worst food crisis in modern history – Sweden and the EU need to take action to shift how food is produced and consumed. That was the message from researchers to policymakers during a high-level meeting for the Swedish government at Stockholm Resilience Centre
Research news | 2023-01-19
Time for an "IPCC for the ocean"
Leading ocean experts propose a new International Panel for Ocean Sustainability (IPOS) to build consensus and inform policy
Research news | 2023-01-13
Going beyond dichotomies of local versus global food systems
Food systems are becoming increasingly stressed, but whether they are local or global is not the big issue
Research news | 2022-12-22
Overshooting climate targets could significantly increase risk for tipping cascades
Temporarily overshooting the climate targets of 1.5-2 degrees Celsius could increase the tipping risk of several Earth system elements by more than 70 per cent, a new risk analysis study shows