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Protein mining the world’s oceans: Australasia as an example of illegal expansion-and-displacement fishing

Authors

  • Iain C. Field,

    1. School for Environmental Research, Institute of Advanced Studies, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Northern Territory 0909, Australia
    2. Australian Institute of Marine Science, PO Box 40197, Casuarina MC, Northern Territory 0811, Australia
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  • Mark G. Meekan,

    1. Australian Institute of Marine Science, PO Box 40197, Casuarina MC, Northern Territory 0811, Australia
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  • Rik C. Buckworth,

    1. Fisheries, Northern Territory Department of Regional Development, Primary Industry, Fisheries and Resources, GPO Box 3000, Darwin, Northern Territory 0801, Australia
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  • Corey J. A. Bradshaw

    1. Research Institute for Climate Change and Sustainability, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia 5005, Australia
    2. South Australian Research and Development Institute, PO Box 120, Henley Beach, South Australia 5022, Australia
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Iain C. Field, School for Environmental Research, Institute of Advanced Studies, Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Northern Territory 0909, Australia
Tel.: +61 8 8920 9230
Fax: +61 8 8920 9222
E-mail: iain.field@gmail.com

Abstract

Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing can lead to irreversible ecosystem changes; however, it is also one of the most difficult forms of fishing to manage and deter. In northern Australia over the past decade there has been a large increase in small-scale IUU fishing. We suggest that this small-scale fishing has arisen because of long-term fisheries over-exploitation in South East Asia. This IUU fishing forms part of the expansion-and-displacement cycle that can rapidly reduce biomass and alter the trophic structure of local ecosystems. With increasing human populations in the region, the pressure to fish illegally is likely to increase. Regional responses are required to deter and monitor the illegal over-exploitation of fisheries resources, which is critical to secure ecosystem stability as climate change and other destructive human activities threaten food security.

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