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Fishing gears, instrumental to the fishing process, can exert direct impacts on marine communities and habitats. The database described here allows for the analysis of global fishing patterns, by associating all reported global catch with fishing gear types. The fine spatial detail of the Sea Around Us project?s catch database allows for the construction of maps showing subtle changes in the use of fishing gears annually since 1950. Maps included in this report chronicle the expansion of these and other gears in ways that will inform the current debate over their impacts, and provide critical information to shape policy development and management choices.