Using satellite tracking, machine learning, and common ship-tracking technology, researchers have directly quantified industrial fishing’s global footprint.
Their research, published February 23, 2018, in the journal Science, reveals that fishing activity now covers at least 55 percent of the world’s oceans — four times the land area covered by agriculture. In 2016, according to the study, 70,000 vessels of the global fishing fleet traveled 286 million miles (460 million km) – equivalent to traveling to the moon and back 600 times. The study data reveal that five countries – China, Spain, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea – account for more than 85 percent of high seas fishing.
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