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The world biomass of marine fishes
Graham, H.W.; Edwards, R.L. (1962). The world biomass of marine fishes, in: Heen, E. et al. Fish in nutrition. pp. 3-8
In: Heen, E.; Kreuzer, R. (1962). Fish in nutrition. Fishing News (Books): London. XXIII, 447 pp., more

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    VLIZ: Biological Resources [10617]


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  • Graham, H.W.
  • Edwards, R.L.

    Many people believe that the 300 million cubic miles of salt water in the oceans have a comparably vast potential as a source of protein food. Under present conditions, however, there is a definite limit to this protein potential, at least in so far as marine fish are concerned. The most productive fishing areas are various grounds on Continental Shelves, especially in the northern hemisphere and in areas of the oceans where phytoplankton production is relatively high. Many of these areas are probably approaching peak production now. A computation of potential world harvest, based on the catch of fish per unit area on representative productive Continental Shelf areas, yields an estimated annual harvest potential of 55 million metric tons. Using the estimated net primary production in all oceans as another basis for computation, it is estimated that approximately 115 million metric tons of marine fish are potentially available for harvest annually. However, a large portion of this production is too thinly scattered to be economically fished at this time. It is shown that a relation exists between fish catch and benthic biomass. Inasmuch as the benthic biomass decreases very rapidly with depth, one cannot expect any substantial population of fishes on the bottom beyond the Continental Shelves. There appears to be no reason to suggest that, under present conditions and with present fishing techniques, the annual harvest of marine fishes can be more than doubled or, at the very most, tripled. It is estimated that a reasonable expectation might be about 60 million mettic tons annually.

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