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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Considering the ‘effort factor’ in fisheries : a methodology for reconstructing global fishing effort and carbon dioxide emissions, 1950 - 2010 Greer, Krista


Whether or not fisheries are sustainable not only affects ocean health, but also human health; a large portion of the population depends on marine ecosystems for food, livelihoods and social values. Our understanding of how fishing impacts the environment is lacking and under the threats of global climate change, the extent to which the ocean can continue to provide goods and services is questionable. Chapter 1 introduces some critical knowledge gaps in fisheries and problems with how marine resources have been managed in the past. Chapter 2 describes a methodology that can be used to quantify and reconstruct historical fishing effort to create a global fishing effort database. Historically fisheries management has not given adequate consideration to the ‘effort factor’, potentially resulting in the mismanagement of marine resources. The methodology was applied to the Exclusive Economic Zones of 9 maritime countries, and preliminary results suggest that, although fishing effort appears to be stabilizing, catch per unit of effort is decreasing. Chapter 3 uses the fishing effort calculated in Chapter 2 to estimate the CO₂ emissions from fishing over time. Fishing is not perceived as an important contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change, despite using fishing vessels that rely on the combustion of fossil fuels (Wilson 1999). As in Chapter 2, the methodology was applied to 9 EEZs. It was found that the CO₂ per unit of catch (CO₂PUC; tonnes) increased, despite increases in fuel efficiency, and the industrial sector emitted 3 times more CO₂PUC than the small-scale sector in 2010. It was estimated that fishing contributes approximately between 2.8 – 5.2% to global CO₂ emissions annually. The final chapter, Chapter 4, discusses the preliminary results of the 9 sample EEZs within the context of the sustainability of fisheries and what it means to be sustainable.

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