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07 Feb 2011: UN Data Vastly Underestimates
Arctic Fisheries Catch, Researchers Say

More than 950,000 tons of fish were harvested from Arctic waters from 1950 to 2006, about 75 times more than the amount reported to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, Canadian researchers say. A study by scientists at the University of British Columbia concluded that ineffective reporting and a lack of credible data produced a false sense that the Arctic is a “pristine frontier when it comes to fisheries.” The region includes the Arctic coastal areas of northern Siberia, Arctic Alaska, and the Canadian Arctic. Reporting in the journal Polar Biology, lead author Dirk Zeller from the UBC said that the official UN records were based solely on data provided by Russia, whereas the UBC researchers used catch data from several sources, including government reports and anthropological records from indigenous communities. An estimated 89,000 tons caught in Alaska during the 56-year period, and another 94,000 tons in Canada, were not reported to the international group. And while Russia reported 12,700 tons, the report suggests it was more like 770,000 tons.


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