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A more exhaustive study, taking over a decade shows that the annual catches between 19 were much bigger than thought, but that the decline after the peak year of 1996 was much faster than official figures.
The new research estimates the peak catch was 130 million tons, but declined at 1.2 million tons per year afterwards.
With so little of the ocean closed to fisheries - less than 1% - it's hardly shocking that many seabirds are suffering from overfishing.
Hammill said the "most pressing issue" is plastic pollution.
Plastic in animals' stomachs not only release deadly toxins, but can also lead to slow starvation by obstructing the animals' bowels.
Official catch data from FAO rarely includes small-scale, sport or illegal fishing and does not count fish discarded at sea.
Prof Daniel Pauly, at the University of British Columbia in Canada and who led the work, said the decline is very strong and "is due to countries having fished too much and having exhausted one fishery after another." Prof Boris Worm, at Dalhousie University in Canada and not involved in the new research said.
"This was a Herculean task that no one else has ever attempted.
"We can see how industrial fisheries from developing countries are robbing these people of livelihoods and food.
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.