Apocalypse in world fisheries? The reports of their death are greatly exaggerated: Food for thought

Niels Daan, Henrik Gislason, John G. Pope, Jake C. Rice

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The catch-based methods underlying the forecast that by 2048 all commercially exploited stocks will have collapsed have been severely criticized, and a recent and more-elaborate analysis by a group of scientists that included the lead author of the original article has led to a quite different interpretation. Nonetheless, the 2006 forecast of a forthcoming apocalypse in the oceans is still uncritically referred to by critics of current management and fisheries science. In the title, the quote by Mark Twain is paraphrased to underline the fact that this prediction is both technically and conceptually flawed: (i) any series of random numbers subjected to the algorithm underlying the prediction will show a pattern similar to that observed in catch statistics; (ii) this pattern should be accounted for in making predictions; and (iii) interpreting the period of maximum harvest in a time-series as generally reflecting a period during which a stock was fully exploited is incorrect, because history often has shown that these maximum yields were taken during a period of overexploitation and could not have been sustainable.
Original languageEnglish
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)1375-1378
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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