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A coupled human-Earth model perspective on long-term trends in the global marine fishery by E. D. Galbraith, D. A. Carozza & D. Bianchi March 27,2017   |  Source: Nature

The global wild marine fish harvest increased fourfold between 1950 and a peak value near the end of the 20th century, reflecting interactions between anthropogenic and ecological forces. Here, we examine these interactions in a bio-energetically constrained, spatially and temporally resolved model of global fisheries. We conduct historical hindcasts with the model, which suggest that technological progress can explain most of the 20th century increase of fish harvest. In contrast, projections extending this rate of technological progress into the future under open access suggest a long-term decrease in harvest due to over-fishing. Climate change is predicted to gradually decrease the global fish production capacity, though our model suggests that this is of secondary importance to social and economic factors. Our study represents a novel way to integrate human-ecological interactions within a single model framework for long-term simulations.

The global capture of wild marine ‘fish’ (including edible invertebrates, as well as true fish) appears to have peaked in the 1990s, according to a recent reconstruction1, despite continued increases in the effort expended by the global fishery. The increasingly intense fishing pressure has driven marine fish biomass to a fraction of

 

© 2017 Macmillan Publishers Limited, part of Springer Nature. All rights reserved.

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