Estimating Global River Fisheries Harvest Potential

Science Center Objects

Fish that are harvested from rivers and lakes play an important role in ensuring global food security. However, data on river fisheries is not collected in any standardized format globally. Although targeted analyses have been conducted on certain river systems, the approaches used, such as intensive field sampling, are not feasible at a global scale. Most river fish are harvested by small-scal...

Fish that are harvested from rivers and lakes play an important role in ensuring global food security. However, data on river fisheries is not collected in any standardized format globally. Although targeted analyses have been conducted on certain river systems, the approaches used, such as intensive field sampling, are not feasible at a global scale. Most river fish are harvested by small-scale operations and in countries that lack the necessary infrastructure and technology that would enable regular reporting of harvests.

Therefore, alternative approaches are needed for estimating the harvest potential of river fisheries at a global scale. Given changing climate conditions and the potential impact of these changes on river fisheries, developing a baseline understanding of estimated harvest potential will be key for monitoring change. For example, rivers in tropical and mid-latitude regions are expected to experience reductions in annual flow, while those in high-latitude regions are expected to have increased annual runoff. These changes will have implications for water supply, irrigation, hydropower demand, and ultimately, fisheries.

The goals of this project are to (1) compile a standardized database of global river fishery information, collected through a systematic literature review; (2) combine this database with remote sensing and other environmental data to develop a model of river harvest potential; and (3) identify ways in which river harvest might be expected to change as a result of changes in climate and land use.

This work builds on a previous National CASC-funded project "Global Assessment of River Fish Production and Potential Global Change Implications".