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But after 1996, few undiscovered fisheries were left and catches started to decline.
The decline since 1996 has largely been in fish caught by industrial fleets and to a lesser extent a cut in the number of unwanted fish discarded at sea.
"The fact that we catch far more than we thought is, if you like, a more positive thing," he said.
"Because if we rebuild stocks, we can rebuild to more than we thought before." There has been success in some places where fishing has been restricted for a few years, for example in the Norwegian herring and cod fisheries. Pauly said: "I don't see African countries, for example, rebuilding their stocks, or being allowed to by the foreign fleets that are working there, because the pressure to continue to fish is very strong.
Lascelles said: "Increased efforts should be made to rid seabird colonies of invasive species, reduce bycatch in fisheries or the ensnaring of birds in fish nets, and setting up conservation areas." Paleczny also called for the creation of international marine protected areas to cover the wide ranges of seabirds.
Plastic in animals' stomachs not only release deadly toxins, but can also lead to slow starvation by obstructing the animals' bowels.
We can also see, that in efforts to stem declines, we have been using more and more bycatch that was once thrown away." Seabirds have been around for sixty million years, and they are true survivalists: circumnavigating the globe without rest, diving more than 200 meters in treacherous seas for food, braving unpredictable weather and finding their way with few, if any, landmarks.
But now seabirds seabird abundance has dropped 69.7% in only 60 years, according to a recent paper in PLOS ONE.
In contrast, nearly 15% of the world's terrestrial landscape is protected.
With so little of the ocean closed to fisheries - less than 1% - it's hardly shocking that many seabirds are suffering from overfishing.