National Geographic : 1995 Nov
0 1 2 3 4 -- EET - Herring, sardines, anchovies Though adelicacy inmany countries, these small open-ocean fish are har vested mainly for industrial purposes, such as fish meal and fertilizer. Her ring stocks have been heavily fished in both the Atlantic and Pacific. Ancho vies are caught inhuge quantities off the Pacific coast of South America, but populations fluctuate dramatically depending on the ElNino phenome non-a change inocean currents that decreases available nutrients. Fish Caught millions of metric tons Fish consumed, millions of metric tons PACIFICSARDINE, SARDINOPSSAGAX ANCHOVETA(PERUVIANANCHOVY),ENGRAULISRINGENS ATLANTICHERRING,CLUPEAHARENGUS ATLANTICMENHADEN,BREVOORTIATYRANNUS - Japan The consumers Russia ndia Russia i India Per capita consumption inkilograms peryear II _ Millions ofgross S registered tons i;B ART BY C. BRUCE MORSER GRAPHSOURCE:FISHERYINFORMATION,DATAAND STATISTICSSERVICE, FAO. "THE CONSUMERS"AND "THE HARVESTERS"BASED ON 1992 DATA. VESSELGRTTOTALFOR U.S. IS FAOESTIMATE. Cod, pollock, haddock Mainstays of human consumption, these species have been heavily exploited. The cod fishery inthe north west Atlantic recently collapsed. But pollock, once deemed fit only for animal feed, isstill plentiful. Much of itisprocessed into fish sticks and fast food. Open Seas No More No longer humanity's watery commons, nearly 40 percent of the world's oceans have been locked up by territorial claims and exclusive fishing zones. The rush to stake out these 200-nautical-mile limits began after World War II, when the advent of long-range fleets sparked clashes over fishing rights. Expanding the boundaries, how ever, hasn't stopped overexploita tion of prize commercial species (distributions shown on map). Rich nations buy into poor countries' waters. High-tech fleets nab fish migrating outside protected coastal zones. And the fish just keep getting scarcer-and smaller. Despite a rise in the Pacific Ocean catch (left, top graph) in the 1980s, the tonnage of seafood harvested worldwide has reached an ominous plateau after peaking in 1989. Meanwhile, demand only grows. With an annual per capita consump tion of 66.6 kilograms (147 pounds), Japan has the world's biggest appe tite for fish, middle graph. China, busy expanding its fleet, is gaining rapidly in bulk catches, bottom graph. High Peruvian and Chilean catches reflect huge exports of fish meal species from their waters.