Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Over Ninety Endangered Fish and Invertebrates are Caught in Industrial Fisheries

Version 1 : Received: 29 June 2020 / Approved: 30 June 2020 / Online: 30 June 2020 (10:38:07 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Journal reference: Nature Communications 2020
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-18505-6


Substantial resources are invested in conservation of marine biodiversity globally. Fishing is the primary threat to many marine species and is one we can manage. However, threatened marine species are legally caught in industrial fisheries. To determine the magnitude and extent of this problem, we analysed global fisheries catch and import data and found reported catch records of 91 globally threatened species, thirteen of which are traded internationally. Seventy-three species targeted in industrial fisheries account for 99% of threatened species catch volume and value. Our results are a conservative estimate of threatened species catch and trade because we only consider species-level data, excluding group records; for example, we omit ‘sharks and rays,’ which represents over 200 threatened species. Although most fishing countries are involved in catch or trade of threatened species, it is driven largely by European nations. On land and for charismatic marine animals (e.g., whales), industrial-scale harvest of species at risk of extinction is controversial and usually highly regulated. In contrast, fishing for endangered fish and invertebrates is widespread but poorly documented. Given the development of new fisheries monitoring technologies and the current push for stronger international mechanisms for biodiversity management, industrial fishing of threatened fish and invertebrates should no longer be neglected in conservation and sustainability commitments.

Supplementary and Associated Material


Fish; invertebrates; conservation; threatened species; exploitation


EARTH SCIENCES, Environmental Sciences

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