The small world of global marine fisheries: The cross-boundary consequences of larval dispersal

Last modified: 
December 13, 2019 - 12:55pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2019
Date published: 06/2019
Authors: Nandini Ramesh, James Rising, Kimberly Oremus
Journal title: Science
Volume: 364
Issue: 6446
Pages: 1192 - 1196
ISSN: 0036-8075

Fish stocks are managed within national boundaries and by regional organizations, but the interdependence of stocks between these jurisdictions, especially as a result of larval dispersal, remains poorly explored. We examined the international connectivity of 747 commercially fished taxonomic groups by building a global network of fish larval dispersal. We found that the world’s fisheries are highly interconnected, forming a small-world network, emphasizing the need for international cooperation. We quantify each country’s dependence on its neighbors in terms of landed value, food security, and jobs. We estimate that more than $10 billion in annual catch from 2005 to 2014 is attributable to these international flows of larvae. The economic risks associated with these dependencies is greatest in the tropics.

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