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Analysis of reduction in estimated fish numbers between 1999-2007 and 2007-2016


1 Estimated fish numbers have declined since 1999-2007

Table1: Global estimates of wild caught fishes:
Species
group
FisheryYearDate
published
Tonnage (t)Lower
estimated numbers
(millions)
Upper
estimated numbers
(millions)
Link
FishesWild capture1999-2007 201077,388,322*973,9712,735,579Link to estimate
FishesWild capture1999-2007201977,575,346*982,2632,745,803 Link to estimate
FishesWild capture2007-2016201976,631,067*787,4582,328,767Link to estimate
* Average annual tonnage for years shown 

As shown in Table1 above, the number of fishes in recorded annual fish capture, has been estimated to be in the range of 982,263 to 2,745,803 million for the years 1999-2007, which is an update to a previous estimate using revised FAO capture tonnages reported in 2016.

Table1 also shows that fish numbers for 2007-2016 are estimated (using the same method) to be in the range 787,458 to 2,328,767 million which is a reduction of 194,805-417,037 million, or 200 to 400 billion, in the estimated range as compared to the 1999-2007 estimate.


2 Species whose estimated numbers have changed the most since 1999-2007

Table2: Differences in estimated fish capture numbers between the 2007-2016 and 1999-2007 estimates:
SpeciesAnnual capture
2007-2016
(t)
Annual capture
change since 1999-2007
(t)
Lower
estimated numbers
change since 1999-2007
(millions)
Upper
estimated numbers
change since 1999-2007
(millions)
Lower
estimated numbers
percent net total
change since 1999-2007
%
Upper
estimated numbers
percent net total
change since 1999-2007
%
Anchoveta(=Peruvian anchovy)5,547,661-3,192,515-111,083-319,2525777
Capelin529,169-502,337-10,047-29,61957
Japanese anchovy1,290,384-317,027-14,410-15,85174
Sandeels(=Sandlances) nei289,515-241,308-24,131-24,131126
European anchovy490,419-133,357-3,509-16,42324
Black and Caspian Sea sprat61,657-68,931-16,031-22,23685
Sardinellas nei985,295170,84376425,8170-6
Other fish species67,436,9683,340,356-16,358-15,34284
Total76,631,067-944,278-194,805-417,037100100


The key differences in fish numbers between the 1999-2007 estimate and the 2007-2016 estimate are as follows (see Table2 above):

  1. A reduction in Peruvian anchovy catch accounts is the main reason for this reduction in fish capture numbers. It accounts for respectively 57% and 77% of the overall reduction in the lower and upper estimate between the 1999-2007 and 2007-2016 estimates.
  2. A net reduction in other feed fish species catches is the second main reason for this reduction in fish capture numbers. A net reduction in other feed fish species together account for respectively 35% and 20% of the reduction in the lower and upper estimate.


3 Decline in Peruvian anchovy and other 'feed fish' species since 1999

Catch sizes since 1999 are shown in Table3 below for Peruvian anchovy and the other feed fish species shown in Table 2. These catch sizes are presented as percentages of the 1999 catch size in Table 4.

The declines in catches for Peruvian anchovy may in part be caused by El nino events which cause cyclical changes in the population size of this species.


Table3: FAO Reported Capture tonnages Since 1999 for species shown in table 2:
Year    AnchovetaCapelinJapanese anchovySandeels neiEuropean anchovyBlack and Caspian
Sea sprat
Sardinellas neiTotal species shownAll other fishesTotal
19998,723,265904,0451,674,762762,248644,549292,8601,069,01314,070,74263,609,37277,680,114
200011,276,3571,484,8181,563,262740,852638,073242,3221,044,67516,990,35962,171,79679,162,155
20017,213,0771,667,7021,651,361906,406670,292142,586799,84313,051,26763,873,47376,924,740
20029,702,6141,980,8851,678,869917,458690,023109,471715,35415,794,67461,334,03677,128,710
20036,203,7511,143,9711,899,570341,522620,19473,831664,97010,947,80964,096,84975,044,658
200410,679,338658,1921,635,825390,238683,14377,547692,46714,816,75064,934,91779,751,667
200510,244,166751,9051,486,623184,454414,63491,297766,53513,939,61465,574,25979,513,873
20067,007,157269,1461,480,461300,513579,95577,441761,28710,475,96065,809,03576,284,995
20077,611,858422,8931,395,963233,717673,12367,940815,93011,221,42465,465,77576,687,199
20087,419,295254,4521,265,763364,041550,11260,068862,46010,776,19165,079,30875,855,499
20096,910,467364,7301,068,334368,134537,57165,9301,039,34010,354,50665,926,35776,280,863
20104,205,979506,8971,199,195423,209588,06663,1631,066,1358,052,64466,682,87474,735,518
20118,319,597853,4491,321,662443,604607,11860,392966,95512,572,77766,175,81278,748,589
20124,692,855992,4911,291,905107,577491,65652,3961,017,3688,646,24867,205,67175,851,919
20135,674,036763,9481,324,504284,138407,69976,264932,5239,463,11267,265,32976,728,441
20143,140,029282,9341,395,807270,401273,51850,8711,020,4616,434,02169,787,41676,221,437
20154,310,015632,0931,336,218319,836432,72157,4411,042,8018,131,12569,802,58677,933,711
20163,192,476217,8021,304,48480,491342,60962,1041,088,9806,288,94670,978,55277,267,498
   Source of production tonnage : FAO FishStat "Capture Production 1950-2016 (Release Date: 15th March 2018)".

 

Table4: FAO Reported Fish Capture tonnages as percentage of 1999 figure for selected species (based on Table 3 above):
Year    AnchovetaCapelinJapanese
anchovy
Sandeels
nei
European
anchovy
Black and
Caspian
Sea sprat
Sardinellas
nei
Total species
shown
All other
fishes
Total
1999100100100100100100100100100100
2000129164939799839812198102
2001831849911910449759310099
200211121910012010737671129699
200371127113459625627810197
20041227398511062665105102103
200511783892464317299103102
2006803088399026717410398
20078747833110423768010399
2008852876488521817710298
2009794064488323977410498
20104856725691221005710596
20119594795894219089104101
20125411077147618956110698
2013658579376326876710699
2014363183354217954611098
20154970804267209858110100
20163724781153211024511299
 
 


4 Implications for animal welfare

Whatever the reasons for the declines in catch sizes for Peruvian anchovy and the other feed fish species shown in Table 3, these figures suggest that reducing the levels of fishing for feed fish, i.e. fishes caught for reduction to fishmeal and fish oil to feed to farmed animals, can reduce the numbers of fishes caught by many billions without necessarily reducing the overall tonnage of fish caught.