Assessing the global distribution of river fisheries harvest: a systematic map protocol


Although surface freshwater comprises < 0.01% of the total water volume of earth, freshwater inland capture fisheries and aquaculture represent 40% of the global reported finfish harvest. While the social, economic, and ecological importance of inland fish and fisheries is difficult to overstate, they are often undervalued and underappreciated. Accurate information about these highly dispersed fisheries is inherently difficult to acquire, often unreported, and not collected in a standardized format globally. A standardized river fishery database is needed for managing aquatic systems as well as for defining relevant development policies. Here, we describe our methodology to search, identify, and describe available river fisheries information to create a harmonized global database of river fisheries harvest. This database will provide the first global database of spatially and temporally explicit river fisheries data. The database can be used to identify locations, hotspots of data collection, and gaps in existing knowledge and will be especially important to inform studies and management at larger spatial scales (i.e., watershed, regional, or global scales). This database will also be critical for developing fish biomass models for rivers, which can provide managers with information critical for decision-making, such as improved valuation methods for river fish and fisheries.


This systematic map protocol describes the methodology to search, identify, and describe available information on river fish and fisheries across the globe. We define river fisheries as “both capture and aquaculture of river finfish species for food, income, or recreation”. River fish species are those finfish that live part, or all of their lives in rivers. The searches will be conducted for the period from 1950 to present using bibliographic databases and grey literature sources. To identify relevant evidence, pre-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria will be used to screen articles at title, abstract, and full text. A searchable database containing extracted meta-data from relevant included studies will be developed and presented as a geodatabase. The final systematic map will consist of a descriptive narrative report of the distribution and content of river fish literature including a geodatabase of available information.


Freshwater fish, Inland fish, Aquatic ecosystems, Watersheds, Spatial distribution, Global, Map, Limnology, River Basin

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