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Coastal and Marine Areas

Theme: COASTAL AND MARINE AREAS Issue: Unsustainable use of living marine resources

Indicator: World fisheries stocks and marine capture

Over the last decades, there has been continuing exploitation and depletion of fisheries stocks. Undeveloped fish reserves have disappeared altogether since the mid-1980s. During the last decades, there has been a continued decline in fish resources in the 'developing' phase, and an increase of those in the depleted or over-exploited ('senescent') phase, somewhat offset by the emergence of resources in the 'recovering' phase. Global harvests from marine fisheries have been above 80 million tonnes per year since the latter half of the 1980s, with peaks of 87 million tonnes in 1997 and 2000.

Since then, the total world catch of marine fish, crustaceans and molluscs has declined, with a reported total quantity of about 81 million tonnes for 2003, the latest year for which comprehensive data are available. The decrease is mostly related to declines in fishing zones in the Southeast and Northwest Pacific oceans (FAO 2004).

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