About Us


Why a Sea Around Us – Indian Ocean?

The Sea Around Us is a global research initiative established in 1999 at the University of British Columbia, Canada, in collaboration with The Pew Charitable Trusts. Its aim is to investigate and document the impact of fishing on the marine ecosystems of the world, and to offer mitigating policy solutions to civil society. The Sea Around Us has major research and media impacts on how we view global marine fisheries and the ocean ecosystems in which they are embedded.

Much of the focus in global fisheries research and ocean conservation has in the past been on the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, while the Indian Ocean has traditionally received less attention. However, the Indian Ocean rim countries are home to nearly 1/3 of the total population of our planet, and the Indian Ocean itself is a major maritime transportation highway. Yet it is underrepresented in global scientific investigations, particularly in ‘big-picture’ science. While the Indian Ocean industrial tuna fisheries receive attention by many countries, these fisheries embody considerable equity issues, as they are largely conducted by distant-water fleets with beneficial ownership residing largely outside the Indian Ocean region. In contrast, the domestic and coastal fisheries of the countries around the Indian Ocean, which are crucial contributors to food security in these countries, as well as providing livelihoods for millions of people, are usually under-represented in the international science and policy debate around fisheries and marine conservation.

Thus, in 2017, through visionary leadership by the University of Western Australia (UWA), Dirk Zeller was appointed Professor of Marine Conservation in the School of Biological Sciences at UWA, where he leads the Sea Around Us – IO. Dirk Zeller had been with the Sea Around Us since 1999, and had previously been its Senior Scientist and Executive Director.

The Sea Around Us – IO harnesses the research efforts and expertise in Western Australia, wider Australia and the Indian Ocean rim to scale-up knowledge and expertise to the Indian Ocean basin-scale and globally. We will continue our global collaborations, and deepen and expand existing and new linkages throughout the Indian Ocean rim, and foster further linkages between the University of Western Australia and the University of British Columbia.

We emphasize catch and related time series data starting in 1950 (e.g., landed value and catch by flag state, fishing sector, fishing gear etc.) and indicators (e.g., marine trophic index, stock-status, stock assessments etc.), and fisheries-related information on every maritime country (e.g., subsidies, marine biodiversity). The information and data presented on the Sea Around Us websites are freely available to any user, granted that its source is acknowledged (see Citation Policy and Terms & Conditions). We are aware that this information and data may be incomplete. Please let us know if you can contribute to improvements via the feedback options available on our websites.

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