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  • The data describes number of vessels, engine power, gross tonnage and fishing effort by year (1950-2017), targeted functional group, and fishing gear. Fishing effort estimates were derived from country-level fishing fleet capacity data publicly available, following the method described in Rousseau et al (2019; and methods improvement reported in Rousseau et al. (in prep). The data coverage is global, but estimates are given at the Exclusive Economic Zone-, Large Marine Ecosystem-, and Food Agriculture Organisation-level. The data was collected for a wide range of uses, including to inform global and regional marine ecosystem models and to understand the long-term evolution of fishing and its socio-ecological implications in the global ocean.