The analysis of fisheries data indicates that if increased spillover of fish stocks from protected international waters were to boost coastal catches by 18 per cent, current global catches would be maintained. When the researchers modelled less conservative estimates of stock spillover, catches in coastal waters surpassed current global levels.
“We should use international waters as the world’s fish bank,” says Rashid Sumaila, director of the UBC Fisheries Economics Research Unit and lead author of the study. “Restricting fisheries activities to coastal waters is economically and environmentally sensible, particularly as the industry faces diminishing returns.”
...The study also indicates that a high-seas moratorium would improve fisheries income distribution among maritime nations. Currently, 10 high seas fishing nations capture 71 per cent of the landed value of catches in international waters.
Under all scenarios considered by the researchers, European Member States, Group of Eight nations, and least developed fishing nations would benefit the most from a closure. Under a catch-neutral scenario, the United States, Guam and the United Kingdom would benefit the most, each with potential increases in landed values of more than $250 million (USD) per year. Canada would see an increase of $125 million (USD) per year....