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Hooked on fishing, and we're heading for the bottom, says scientist

The world has passed "peak fish" and fishermen's nets will be hauling in ever diminishing loads unless there's political action to stem the global tide of over fishing, says a fisheries expert based at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Daniel Pauly says the crisis in the world's fisheries is less about scientific proof than about attitude and political will.

And, he says, the world's fish need a dynamic, high-profile political champion like a Bono or Mandela to give finned creatures the public profile of cute and furry ones.

"It's time for leadership on global fisheries issues. It's time to act," says Dr. Pauly, Director of the Fisheries Centre at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. "We don't need more science. This is a message that's different from many of my colleagues. Of course we need to learn more about fish. But research is often publicly funded on the grounds that this is an alternative to other political action. We know enough to act to prevent the continued decimation of global fisheries."

Dr. Pauly will be presenting his views as part of a symposium on international scientific cooperation for the transition to sustainable development at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science February 17 in St. Louis.

Dr. Pauly is the principal investigator of the Sea Around Us project. Based at U.B.C.'s Fisheries Centre, and sponsored by the U.S.-based Pew Charitable Trusts, the Sea Around Us is the world's most ambitious attempt to document and assess the fate of global fisheries. Using specialized software and fisheries data from around the world, the project maps global marine fisheries activity since 1950. This reveals local, regional and global trends in past and present fisheries practices. (The detailed data are publicly available at www.seaaroundus.org.)

Among its most notable findings, the research has revealed that the world passed "peak fish" ?a peak in th
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Source:Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council


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