PHOTO(S): © Beau Wrigley
This goal assesses our ability to sustainably maximize wild-caught fisheries.
The current score indicates that most regions are significantly below their sustainable target values. Many regions are jeopardizing future catch by overharvesting, whereas a few are not catching as much wild-caught seafood as they could.
The global score has, on average, dropped nearly one fifthteenth of a point every year since 2012. This modest decline is due mainly to the decreasing sustainability of some fisheries, which means many stocks are being overfished. In fact, the Global Fishing Index found that nearly half of assessed fish in 2018 were overfished. However, many stocks are not assessed which means we don’t know how many stocks are doing.
Over the past 10 years, there has been a slight decrease (~1%) in fish catch (2009/2010 vs. 2018/2019). However, the differences in catch are drastically different across regions, ranging from 200% more to 1% less, which can produce many different outcomes for fish stocks depending on the status of the stock (underfished, fully exploited, overfished). 119 of the 220 regions included in OHI have a fisheries score less than 50. Small island nations tend to have high scores, and Nauru is the highest scoring region for the fisheries subgoal in 2022.
The United States has seen a modest decrease in the fisheries score since 2015. This is because we are catching less sustainably harvested stocks while catching about the same amount of overfished stocks. Interestingly, a large proportion of catch in the United States comes from the Alaska Pollock (~26%), which is considered an underfished stock. However, OHI does not currently penalize regions for harvesting underfished stocks, so this does not harm the fisheries score for the United States.