The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2012

Created on Thursday, 26 July 2012

Earlier this month, The Thirtieth Session of The Committee on Fisheries presented The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2012 and the International Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Network (IMCS) announced a new competition aimed at combating IUU fishing. The very first Stop IUU Fishing Award is designed to encourage innovation and effective new ideas in the fight against IUU fishing.


 Summary of the State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2012

Part 1: World Review of Fisheries and Aquaculture 

 World capture fisheries and aquaculture supplied about 154 million metric tons of seafood in 2011, up from 148 million metric tons in 2010, for a value of $217.5 billion. World per capita food fish supply increased from an average of 9.9 kg in the 1960s to 18.8 kg in 2011. Overall global capture fisheries production continues to remain stable at about 90 million metric tons although there have been changes in catch trends by country, fishing area and species. The Northwest Pacific is still by far the most productive fishing area. In contrast, the 2010 production in the Western Central Atlantic decreased, with a reduction in United States catches by about 100 000 metric tons, probably attributable to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Aquaculture accounts for approximately 41% of total production. In the last three decades (1980-2010), world food fish production of aquaculture has expanded by almost 12 times, at an average annual rate of 8.8%. World aquaculture production attained an all-time high in 2010, at 60 million metric tons with an estimated total value of $119 billion. 

Small-scale fisheries employ more than 90 percent of the world’s capture fishers, and their importance to food security, poverty alleviation and poverty prevention is becoming increasingly appreciated. However, the lack of institutional capacity and the failure to include the sector in national and regional development policies hamper their potential contribution.

Part 2: Selected Issues in Fisheries and Aquaculture

Five issues were reviewed, possible solutions presented, recent actions and an outlook was provided for each problem relating to fisheries and aquaculture. Mainstreaming gender, disaster preparedness, managing recreational fisheries, low-impact fuel efficiency and ecosystem approach were all discussed at length in relationship to fisheries and aquaculture. 

Part 3: Highlights of Special Studies

Sixteen different case studies were brought together to look at four different hypotheses on the effects of fisheries management policies on fishing safety. Food safety as a critical component for food and nutrition security was reviewed in the context of regulatory framework, climate change and the impact on developing countries. Lessons learned from Marine Protected Areas were detailed, and the trends of the supply and demand of aquafeed for farmed fish was reviewed and future projections made. Ecolabeling and certification in both capture fisheries and aquaculture was evaluated and some specific remaining issues were addressed. The OECD-FAO Agriculture Outlook, chapter on fish summarized developments in the sector. 

Part 4: Outlook 

The role of capture fisheries in a global sustainable food production system was reviewed in the context of: prospects for sustainable increased production, capture fisheries as targets of efforts to reduce resource use and greenhouse gas emissions, minimizing waste and improving governance.