US: A new study of fish traps in the Persian Gulf suggests that many fish go uncounted after they are caught, according to the images obtained by Google Earth. Researchers from the University of British Columbia in Canada used Google Earth”s satellite images to count intertidal fishing weirs off the coast of six countries in the Persian Gulf. Overexploitation of the world”s oceans and seas could lead to serious problems in terms of conservation and food security, but researchers have had a hard time estimating the impact of fishing because of unreliable catch statistics. Many countries underreport how many fish small-scale fisheries and illegal fishing operations harvest.
The results of the new study highlight the discrepancies: The researchers counted 1,900 weirs along the Persian Gulf coast during 2005, which they estimate translates to 34,170 tons (31,000 tonnes) of fish. That year, however, the countries in the region only reported a total catch of 5,800 tons (5,260 tonnes) to the United Nation”s Food and Agriculture Organization.