Global trade statistics lack granularity to inform traceability and management of diverse and high-value fishes

Last modified: 
October 12, 2017 - 12:58pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2017
Date published: 10/2017
Authors: Donna-Mareè Cawthorn, Stefano Mariani
Journal title: Scientific Reports
Volume: 7
Issue: 1

Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and seafood supply chain fraud are multifaceted problems that demand multifaceted solutions. Here, we investigate the extent to which global fisheries trade data analyses can support effective seafood traceability and promote sustainable seafood markets using one of the world’s most highly prized, yet misunderstood, groups of fishes as a model: the snappers, family Lutjanidae. By collating and comparing production, import and export data from international and national statistical collections for the period 2006–2013, we show that official trade data severely lack the level of detail required to track snapper trade flows, uncover potential IUU activities and/or inform exploitation management of snappers and related species. Moreover, we contend that the lack of taxonomic granularity and use of vague generic names in trade records represent one of the most insidious impediments to seafood traceability, and suggest that widely used harmonised commodity classification systems should evolve to address these gaps.

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