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British Columbia Marine Fisheries Catch Reconstruction: 1873 to 2011

Cameron Ainsworth


This short communication synthesizes the available catch information for British Columbia marine fisheries from 1873 to present and presents an electronic database consistent with the Atlas of Fisheries Impacts in preparation by the Sea Around Project at the University of British Columbia.  Included in the estimates are targeted landings (both reported and unreported), bycatch, discards, and illegal catch for industrial, recreational and subsistence fisheries.  Governmental and non-governmental data sources are utilized, as well as previous catch reconstructions and estimates of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fisheries.  Catch estimates are compared to data in FAO Fishery and Aquaculture statistics.  Unreported catch rates increased slowly and consistently throughout the early history of BC’s fisheries, peaking in 1963 at about 700,000 tonnes per year.  The rate dropped in the 1970s and 1980s to about half that amount, then rose again to a second similar peak in the late 1990s.  The rate subsequently declined to about 200,000 tonnes per year.  Contemporary FAO catch statistics document about 80% of total landings. 


IUU, illegal catch, British Columbia, Sea Around Us, fishing industry, sustainability, research notes

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ISSN 0005-2949

BC Studies
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