Smithsonian Channel An Ocean Mystery: The Missing Catch, Dr. Daniel Pauly says, “Chinese data are problematic”

Dr. Daniel Pauly

Premiere, a 15-year investigation to reveal findings about our marine ecosystems on Earth Day, April 22nd, 2017, at 5pm PT, 8pm ET on DirecTV

By Gabrielle Pantera

HOLLYWOOD, CA (Hollywood Daily Stars) 2017/04/22 – “It was always bizarre that China should have such enormous catches,” says Ocean Mystery: The Missing Catch main investigator Dr. Daniel Pauly. “One reason why people were suspicious is that fish don’t increase exponentially. They might increase like this, up and down, because the fish go up and down also.”

“With the trend you can have that, but something that increases exponentially is indicative of the same percentage being added every year and no process in nature can last a long time growing exponentially,” says Dr. Pauly. “Essentially Chinese data are problematic, because they are gathered in the context of a socialist economy where The Plan influences what you report. If The Plan foresees a growth of 5% in your sector then you better report 6%. This determines the allocation that next year this sector will get in terms of fuel or other allocation.”


“Between the 70s and the 90s, it became so big that in ’98 the government, the central government, decided to have normal growth,” says Dr. Pauly. “So from now they would not increase the catch, and indeed the catches of China went straight and flat. Because China is so big the over reporting by China caused the world catch to increase, once you correct that, the world catch started to decrease.”

“Physiologically a world catch which is increasing tells people everything is fine,” says Dr. Pauly. “That is completely different message that is conveyed by correcting the catches from China”

“If we were running our fisheries properly,” says Dr. Pauly. “We could catch more than we thought we could.”

In An Ocean Mystery: The Missing Catch, Ted Danson is the narrator. The documentary shows a 15-year investigation, from the Atlantic coastline to the reefs of the Bahamas and the shores of Senegal, that reveals new findings about our marine ecosystems.

Dr. Daniel Pauly is the main investigator of the documentary. Government and industry regulators track the quantity of fish caught. They claim the oceans can handle it. Dr. Pauly and an international team of scientists embark on a fishing investigation to determine how much fishermen may be overfishing. World’s reporting systems rely on data from industrial fishing, which provides only a partial picture. The documentary interrogates local fishermen. It investigates pirate fishing boats. It goes through historical colonial records. The scientists found missing figures through sport fishing in the Bahamas, unreported fishing for cod in Canada and illegal fishing in West Africa. These activities can result in millions of fish that are overlooked and uncounted in national fisheries numbers

Dr. Pauly’s research results show that the true number of fish caught is underestimated. He proves that without accurate data, it is virtually impossible to manage our fish for the future. The research offers hope, more accurate data and careful management will empower an even greater peak catch for the future.

Dr. Stephen Box is Vice President of Global Fisheries Solutions at Rare in Honduras. He created a cellphone app that makes it possible to collect comprehensive fishing data as it happens. It allows fishermen to send information about how much and what kind of fish they are catching to their national government. This is a pilot study highlighted by the documentary.

Awarded Best Conservation Film at the 2017 International Ocean Film Festival in San Francisco.

An Ocean Mystery: The Missing Catch cast:

A Khaled bin Sultan Living Ocean Foundation production. Executive produced, directed and written by Alison Barrat for Khaled bin Sultan Living Ocean Foundation. Executive produced by Charles Poe and David Royle for Smithsonian Channel. Narrated by Ted Danson.

The Khaled bin Sultan Living Ocean Foundation is an ocean conservation organization that uses media as part of their mission to protect and restore ocean health.

Smithsonian Channel is a joint venture between Showtime Networks Inc. and the Smithsonian Institution.

Twitter: #OceanMysteryTheMissingCatch, ,  @SmithsonianChan

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