COMMERCIAL FISHERIES FEED THE WORLD
Commercial fishing spans all the oceans, bays, seas and rivers of our planet. Commercial fishing helps feed the world's population and plays a vital role in the global economy. We will focus on pelagic longline fishing practices of US and foreign commercial fleets to gauge their impact on Atlantic billfish mortality.
HOW MANY FISH IN A METRIC TON?
Commercial catches are generally measured in metric tons, and ICCAT quotas are set by metric tons. To the laymen, measuring marlin mortalities in metric tons is a fuzzy concept. By converting metric tons into individual fish, we get a better grasp of commercial fishing's impact on Atlantic billfish stocks. The math is simple: a metric ton rounds to 2,205 US pounds, the average weight of Atlantic white marlin (according to SCRS), is 53 pounds and the average blue marlin is 337 pounds. Using ICCAT's annual quotas of 2,000 mt for blue marlin and 400 metric tons for white marlin through 2018, the calculations convert to 40,000 blue marlin and 50,000 white marlin mortalities allowed by ICCAT over the next 3 years.
PELAGIC LONGLINE FLEET
ICCAT's database currently lists 3,640 commercial longline vessels registered to fish the Atlantic.
A 1998 study of the pelagic longline fleet found that the average length of Atlantic pelagic longline vessels in 1996 was 57 feet (range 30-95 feet) (Larkin et al.1998).
Circle-hooks research in Commercial Fishing - A VIMS study (Kerstetter, Graves 2006), with encouraging results on the use of Circle-hooks in commercial catches.
PELAGIC LONGLINE FISHING - VARIED VIEWS
- NOAA's description of the U.S commercial fisheries including the pelagic longline fishery.
- ICCAT Manual's extensive description of the pelagic longline fishery.
- United Nations resource on longline vessel types:
- United Nations resource on longliner gear: