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Wealthy Countries Conduct 97 Percent of Global Commercial Fishing

Halibut Coalition


An Alaska native, Charles Clement has served as the president and CEO of the Southeast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) for more than six years. In addition to his ongoing initiatives in the fields of general public and Alaska native health, Charles Clement supports nonprofit organizations, such as the Halibut Coalition, which fights for sustainable fishing practices.

As the global commercial fishing industry continues to exploit one-third of the world’s fish stock at unsustainable levels, researchers are particularly keen to determine which entities are doing the most fishing, where they are fishing, and how much they are catching. A study published in the August 2018 issue of the peer-reviewed journal Science Advances recently determined that 97 percent of all industrial fishing activity in international waters is conducted by ships of nations with upper-middle incomes or higher. In fact, five countries in particular — China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Spain — are responsible for the vast majority of this activity. Perhaps even more surprising, even in the territorial waters of poorer nations, wealthier nations conduct 78 percent of overall commercial fishing.