Both Western Europe and Africa South of the Sahara, have seen a dramatic increase in total production levels since 1950, with production levels peaking during the later fifteen years. Whilst Europe’s total production rose from 5. 8 million tonnes to13 million tonnes between 1950 and 1995, Africa’s increase from a mere 0. 9 million tonnes to 4. 5 million tonnes, although not reaching as higher level of production as Europe, was still more significant in terms of its own production growth.
The differences in the scale of such production progress for the two areas, may be a reflection of the dissimilar stages each area was at in terms of fishing technique and technology during and after the 1950’s, i. e. Africa was only just beginning to obtain and master intermediate techniques of commercial fishing which would significantly increase production outputs, whilst Europe was moving onto more specialist techniques which also increased production levels, but not to the same extent. Alternatively, another key variation between the production trends for the two areas is the difference in inland production levels.
Africa’s inland production levels continued to contribute on average a third to overall total production; rising from 0. 3 million tonnes to its peak of 1. 5 million tonnes between 1950 and 1990. Conversely, Europe’s inland production although rising by 0. 2 million tonnes during the period remained insignificant. One may also note that although marine capture remained the largest contributor to total production levels in both areas, in Europe marine aquaculture contributed on average 0. 3 – 0. 5 million tonnes to total production levels per year, in Africa marine aquaculture was non-existent.
Additionally, a significant distinction one observes when comparing inland and marine fishery production, for both Western Europe and Africa South of the Sahara since 1950, is that on average Western Europe contributes 13 million tonnes, almost three times the amount that Africa South of the Sahara contributes to global fish production; 4 million tonnes. PART B Reported fisheries data may often be inaccurate for a number of reasons, the most prominent being that data is only obtainable for certain regions or certain years. The results are far from flawless in terms of exposure, timeliness, and distinction.
Data is submitted to FAO frequently with one or two years of wait. The quantity of catch identified for the level of particular species has inclined to decline with time, and the proportion of unidentified fish in the declarations has increased as fisheries expanded and huge stocks were dwindling. Although, practices such as stock assessment working groups offer a high quality means for vetting catch data, the frequency of stock assessment in several developing regions has slumped due to lack of financial and human resources.
One may note that the general accessibility of data has not actually improved during the last two decades with statistics from artisanal and subsistence fisheries causing concern. The most notable example of inaccurate fisheries data being reported is from China who overestimates production. For as the FAO state in ‘Review of the state of world fishery resources: marine fisheries’ 1997, “the first national agricultural census in China, undertaken with the collaboration of FAO in 1997, statistics for meat production were revised downward by about 25%.
On land cultivation differences between census and regular time series are as wide as 37%. ” Additionally, when countries present little supportive justification of suspect statistics, reported statistics are set apart and FAO estimates published. In the regions in which FAO has not yet had the methods to work effectively e. g. production from illegal fishing, there is no data at all at international level thus yet again highlighting the potential inaccuracies in reported fisheries data.
The major historical significance of the Southern Oceans was for whale fishing and, with the downfall of fisheries in the 1960s, it was expected that fisheries would change to the whale’s food – krill. Although, commercial fisheries have been pursuing this species since the late 1960s, the catch can be at best expressed as insignificant. This has not been the situation for the larger demersal fish, which locate in Southern Ocean waters; these stocks have been intensely fished, frequently in an unregulated style as the species of the region are unhesitatingly accepted on international markets.
Likewise, great deals of the traditional fishery resources of the Northeast Atlantic such as cod (were a persistent downward trend had been evident since the peak catches of the late 1960s), are totally overexploited, with several stocks in a depleted state. The crumple of the North Sea herring stock for the second time in the last twenty years, and the consequential advise of 50% cutback in fishing mortality, has received a large amount of interest, although reductions of up to 40% have been directed for other stocks.
Both oceans find themselves in this position as a direct consequence of long-term over fishing. However one most note that in both regions environmental factors may have played a significant role in the reduction of stocks and such factors will without doubt be a factor in the future management of the fisheries. In the southern ocean the major concern regarding the marine ecosystem is the consequences of ice thinning and loss of the ozone layer, which would affect phytoplankton, also large sections of the ice cover have broken away and this will have uncertain changes on the ecology of the region.
Conversely, in the Atlantic there is a range of environmental concerns. For example the root cause of the poor situation within European waters has been the incapability of the member states within the European Union to control and decrease fleet capacity with heavy gears is thought to have a key impact on the seafloor, varying and degrading marine habitation and perhaps producing loss of species diversity. , furthermore other concerns arise from gravel extraction ,the growth of mariculture and sea ranching.
In addition, management in both oceans have to tackle the increasing problem of illegal fishing and over fishing. Alternatively, the management of marine resources by the ‘Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources’ has resulted in conservative practices that would seem strange elsewhere, principally since CCAMLR has a constitutional obligation to agree to an ecologically incorporated approach to organization of fisheries.
As the FAO state in ‘Review of the state of world fishery resources: marine fisheries’ 1997 “this is manifested in a number of ways: (1) ecological relationships between harvested, dependent and related populations should be maintained and (2) any changes that are not reversible within 20-30 years should be prevented or minimised” Conversely, in European waters, the EU Council is required to consider economic and social circumstances, as well as resource status when agreeing on TACs. The consequence on stock status of considering enlarged catches based on these aspects remains uncertain but is enough to stimulate alarm.