Sustainable Fisheries Is a Worldwide Objective: As a Fisheries Scientist, the World Is Your Oyster
Margaret Mary McBride
Sustainable fishing is a worldwide objective. As a fisheries scientist, your skills are in demand wherever fisheries are conducted. During my 38-plus years as a fisheries scientist, I have enjoyed working at five different research institutions in three different countries on three different continents. The jobs all focused on very different sets of issues, problems, and concerns. I have learned valuable lessons along the way, and every day has been an adventure.
Fishing is one of the oldest human professions and has been an organized industry since the Middle Ages. It is a global enterprise, and today, seafood constitutes an important source of nutrition and animal protein for much of the world’s population. The fisheries sector provides livelihoods and income, both directly and indirectly, for a significant share of the world’s population. An estimated 70% of the earth’s surface is covered with water, and roughly 150 countries throughout the world have coasts granting access to marine fisheries. Fish and fishery products are among the most traded food commodities worldwide, with trade volumes and values reaching new highs in 2011. This rising trend is expected to continue, with developing countries continuing to account for the bulk of world exports. While capture fisheries production remains stable, aquaculture production continues to expand and is set to remain one of the fastest-growing animal food-producing sectors. In the next decade, total production from both capture fisheries and aquaculture will exceed that of beef, pork, or poultry.