Fishery Statistics: Reliability and policy implications

News -
01 Feb 2002 - 18 Jan 2016
12 February 2002 A recent scientific article in Nature indicated that China?s marine capture fishery production for 1995-1999 has been overstated in Chinese statistics submitted to and published by FAO. The paper states that a consequence of this is that global marine capture fishery production - excluding Peruvian anchoveta - has probably been declining since 1988 rather than remaining fairly constant as indicated by the statistics. According to the authors from the University of British Columbia (UBC), this would have led to understating the degradation of world fisheries and wrong policy and investment decisions. The issue has been subsequently taken up in a number of newspapers and web media including The Economist. While usefully drawing attention of the wider public on the importance of reliable statistics for fisheries management and monitoring, the articles also reflected a number of misconceptions about: (1) FAO?s understanding of Chinese statistics; (2) FAO?s role in global fisheries statistics; and (3) the possible consequences of an over-estimate of China?s fisheries production on global fisheries management advice, policy and contribution to food security.