Generally, a fishery is an entity engaged in raising or harvesting fish which is determined by some authority to be a fishery.[1] According to the FAO, a fishery is typically defined in terms of the "people involved, species or type of fish, area of water or seabed, method of fishing, class of boats, purpose of the activities or a combination of the foregoing features".[2] The definition often includes a combination of fish and fishers in a region, the latter fishing for similar species with similar gear types.[3]

A fishery may involve the capture of wild fish or raising fish through fish farming or aquaculture.[2][4] Directly or indirectly, the livelihood of over 500 million people in developing countries depends on fisheries and aquaculture. Overfishing, including the taking of fish beyond sustainable levels, is reducing fish stocks and employment in many world regions.[5][6] A report by Prince Charles' International Sustainability Unit, the New York-based Environmental Defence Fund and 50in10 published in July 2014 estimated global fisheries were adding $270 billion a year to global GDP, but by full implementation of sustainable fishing, that figure could rise by as much as $50 billion.[7]

Becharof Wilderness Salmon
Salmon spawn in a salmon fishery within the Becharof Wilderness in Southwest Alaska.

The term fish


Faina de Pesca,Sesimbra
Fishermen in Sesimbra, Portugal

Fisheries are harvested for their value (commercial, recreational or subsistence). They can be saltwater or freshwater, wild or farmed. Examples are the salmon fishery of Alaska, the cod fishery off the Lofoten islands, the tuna fishery of the Eastern Pacific, or the shrimp farm fisheries in China. Capture fisheries can be broadly classified as industrial scale, small-scale or artisanal, and recreational.

Close to 90% of the world's fishery catches come from oceans and seas, as opposed to inland waters. These marine catches have remained relatively stable since the mid-nineties (between 80 and 86 million tonnes).[10] Most marine fisheries are based near the coast. This is not only because harvesting from relatively shallow waters is easier than in the open ocean, but also because fish are much more abundant near the coastal shelf, due to the abundance of nutrients available there from coastal upwelling and land runoff. However, productive wild fisheries also exist in open oceans, particularly by seamounts, and inland in lakes and rivers.

Most fisheries are wild fisheries, but farmed fisheries are increasing. Farming can occur in coastal areas, such as with oyster farms,[11] but more typically occur inland, in lakes, ponds, tanks and other enclosures.

There are species fisheries worldwide for finfish, mollusks, crustaceans and echinoderms, and by extension, aquatic plants such as kelp. However, a very small number of species support the majority of the world's fisheries. Some of these species are herring, cod, anchovy, tuna, flounder, mullet, squid, shrimp, salmon, crab, lobster, oyster and scallops. All except these last four provided a worldwide catch of well over a million tonnes in 1999, with herring and sardines together providing a harvest of over 22 million metric tons in 1999. Many other species are harvested in smaller numbers.

See also


  1. ^ Fletcher, WJ; Chesson, J; Fisher, M; Sainsbury KJ; Hundloe, T; Smith, ADM and Whitworth, B (2002) The "How To" guide for wild capture fisheries. National ESD reporting framework for Australian fisheries: FRDC Project 2000/145. Page 119–120.
  2. ^ a b c FAO: Fisheries glossary
  3. ^ Madden, CJ and Grossman, DH (2004) A Framework for a Coastal/Marine Ecological Classification Standard Archived October 29, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. NatureServe, page 86. Prepared for NOAA under Contract EA-133C-03-SE-0275
  4. ^ NOAA: Fisheries glossary p. 24.
  5. ^ C. Michael Hogan (2010) Overfishing, Encyclopedia of earth, topic ed. Sidney Draggan, ed. in chief C. Cleveland, National Council on Science and the Environment (NCSE), Washington DC
  6. ^ Fisheries and Aquaculture in our Changing Climate Policy brief of the FAO for the UNFCCC COP-15 in Copenhagen, December 2009.
  7. ^ "Prince Charles calls for greater sustainability in fisheries". London Mercury. Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 13 July 2014.
  8. ^ Nelson, Joseph S. (2006). Fishes of the World. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. p. 2. ISBN 0-471-25031-7.
  9. ^ Jr.Cleveland P Hickman, Larry S. Roberts, Allan L. Larson: Integrated Principles of Zoology, McGraw-Hill Publishing Co, 2001, ISBN 0-07-290961-7
  10. ^ "Scientific Facts on Fisheries". GreenFacts Website. 2009-03-02. Retrieved 2009-03-25.
  11. ^ New Zealand Seafood Industry Council. Mussel Farming.


External links

Artisanal fishing

Artisanal fishing (or traditional/subsistence fishing) are various small-scale, low-technology, low-capital, fishing practices undertaken by individual fishing households (as opposed to commercial companies). Many of these households are of coastal or island ethnic groups. These households make short (rarely overnight) fishing trips close to the shore. Their produce is usually not processed and is mainly for local consumption. Artisan fishing uses traditional fishing techniques such as rod and tackle, fishing arrows and harpoons, cast nets, and small (if any) traditional fishing boats.

Artisan fishing may be undertaken for both commercial and subsistence reasons. It contrasts with large-scale modern commercial fishing practices in that it is often less wasteful and less stressful on fish populations than modern industrial fishing.


Bycatch, in the fishing industry, is a fish or other marine species that is caught unintentionally while catching certain target species and target sizes of fish, crabs etc. Bycatch is either of a different species, the wrong sex, or is undersized or juvenile individuals of the target species. The term "bycatch" is also sometimes used for untargeted catch in other forms of animal harvesting or collecting.

In 1997, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) defined bycatch as "total fishing mortality, excluding that accounted directly by the retained catch of target species". Bycatch contributes to fishery decline and is a mechanism of overfishing for unintentional catch.The average annual bycatch rate of pinnipeds and cetaceans in the U.S. from 1990 to 1999 was estimated at 6215 animals with a standard error of 448.The fisherman bycatch issue originated due to the "mortality of dolphins in tuna nets in the 1960s".There are at least four different ways the word "bycatch" is used in fisheries:

Catch which is retained and sold but which is not the target species for the fishery

Species/sizes/sexes of fish which fishermen discard

Non-target fish, whether retained and sold or discarded

Unwanted invertebrate species, such as echinoderms and non-commercial crustaceans, and various vulnerable species groups, including seabirds, sea turtles, marine mammals and elasmobranchs (sharks and their relatives).Additionally, the term "deliberate bycatch" is used to refer to bycatch as a source of illegal wildlife trade (IWT) in several areas throughout world.

Callinectes sapidus

Callinectes sapidus (from the Greek calli- = "beautiful", nectes = "swimmer", and Latin sapidus = "savory"), the blue crab, Atlantic blue crab, or regionally as the Chesapeake blue crab, is a species of crab native to the waters of the western Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico, and introduced internationally.

C. sapidus is of significant culinary and economic importance in the United States, particularly in Louisiana, North Carolina, the Chesapeake Bay, and New Jersey. It is the Maryland state crustacean and is that state's largest commercial fishery.

Commercial fishing

Commercial fishing is the activity of catching fish and other seafood for commercial profit, mostly from wild fisheries. It provides a large quantity of food to many countries around the earth, but those who practice it as an industry must often pursue fish far into the ocean under adverse conditions. Large-scale commercial fishing is also known as industrial fishing. This profession has gained in popularity with the development of shows such as Deadliest Catch, Swords, and Wicked Tuna. The major fishing industries are not only owned by major corporations but by small families as well. The industry has had to adapt through the years in order to keep earning a profit. A study taken on some small family-owned commercial fishing companies showed that they adapted to continue to earn a living but not necessarily make a large profit. It is the adaptability of the fishermen and their methods that cause some concern for fishery managers and researchers; they say that for those reasons, the sustainability of the marine ecosystems could be in danger of being ruined.Commercial fishermen harvest a wide variety of animals, ranging from tuna, cod, carp, and salmon to shrimp, krill, lobster, clams, squid, and crab, in various fisheries for these species. There are large and important fisheries worldwide for various species of fish, mollusks, crustaceans, and echinoderms. However, a very small number of species support the majority of the world's fisheries of these species are herring, cod, anchovy, tuna, flounder, mullet, squid, shrimp, salmon, crab, lobster, oyster and scallops. All except these last four provided a worldwide catch of well over a million tonnes in 1999, with herring and sardines together providing a catch of over 22 million metric tons in 1999. Many other species are fished in smaller numbers.

The industry, in 2006, also managed to generate over 185 billion dollars in sales and also provide over two million jobs in the United States, according to an economic report released by NOAA's Fisheries Service. Commercial fishing may offer an abundance of jobs, but the pay varies from boat to boat, season to season. Crab fisherman Cade Smith was quoted in an article by Business Week as saying, "There was always a top boat where the crew members raked in $50,000 during the three- to five-day king crab season—or $100,000 for the longer snow crab season". That may be true, but there are also the boats who don't do well; Smith said later in the same article that his worst season left him with a loss of 500 dollars.Many people working in commercial fishing are self-employed, with some or all of their pay dependent on the proceeds from the sale of the fish caught. In the UK, the technical term for this is share fisherman, which refers to anyone working without an employment contract, on a boat manned by more than one person, and relying for their livelihood at least partly on a share of the profits or gross sales of the fishing boat's catch.

A 2009 paper in Science estimates, for the first time, the total world fish biomass as somewhere between 0.8 and 2.0 billion tonnes.

Fish products

Fish and fish products is consumed as food all over the world. With other seafoods, it provides the world's prime source of high-quality protein;14–16 percent of the animal protein consumed worldwide. Over one billion people rely on fish as their primary source of animal protein.Fish and other aquatic organisms are also processed into various food and non-food products.

Fisheries management

Fisheries management is the activity of protecting fishery resources so sustainable exploitation is possible, drawing on fisheries science, and including the precautionary principle. Modern fisheries management is often referred to as a governmental system of appropriate management rules based on defined objectives and a mix of management means to implement the rules, which are put in place by a system of monitoring control and surveillance. A popular approach is the ecosystem approach to fisheries management. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), there are "no clear and generally accepted definitions of fisheries management". However, the working definition used by the FAO and much cited elsewhere is:

The integrated process of information gathering, analysis, planning, consultation, decision-making, allocation of resources and formulation and implementation, with enforcement as necessary, of regulations or rules which govern fisheries activities in order to ensure the continued productivity of the resources and the accomplishment of other fisheries objectives.

Fisheries science

Fisheries science is the academic discipline of managing and understanding fisheries. It is a multidisciplinary science, which draws on the disciplines of limnology, oceanography, freshwater biology, marine biology, conservation, ecology, population dynamics, economics and management to attempt to provide an integrated picture of fisheries. In some cases new disciplines have emerged, as in the case of bioeconomics and fisheries law.

Fisheries science is typically taught in a university setting, and can be the focus of an undergraduate, master's or Ph.D. program. Some universities offer fully integrated programs in fisheries science.

Fishery Protection Squadron

The Fishery Protection Squadron is a front-line squadron of the Royal Navy with responsibility for patrolling the UK's Extended Fisheries Zone. The squadron, with headquarters at Portsmouth Naval Base, are equipped with four River-class patrol vessels; three are based in the UK, while HMS Clyde is based in the Falkland Islands.

The squadron is the oldest front-line squadron in the Royal Navy, and boasts Admiral Lord Nelson amongst those who have served in it. Originally, the squadron was based on the coast of North America, Iceland and the UK, patrolling much of the North Atlantic against French and American incursions. Over the past hundred years it has been slimmed down to follow a more policing-oriented approach, dealing mainly with infringements by civilian fishermen. Despite this, it still has a strong military role, as evidenced in its role in the Cod Wars of the 1960s-70s.


Fishing is the activity of trying to catch fish. Fish are normally caught in the wild. Techniques for catching fish include hand gathering, spearing, netting, angling and trapping. “Fishing” may include catching aquatic animals other than fish, such as molluscs, cephalopods, crustaceans, and echinoderms. The term is not normally applied to catching farmed fish, or to aquatic mammals, such as whales where the term whaling is more appropriate. In addition to being caught to be eaten, fish are caught as recreational pastimes. Fishing tournaments are held, and caught fish are sometimes kept as preserved or living trophies. When bioblitzes occur, fish are typically caught, identified, and then released.

According to the United Nations FAO statistics, the total number of commercial fishermen and fish farmers is estimated to be 38 million. Fisheries and aquaculture provide direct and indirect employment to over 500 million people in developing countries. In 2005, the worldwide per capita consumption of fish captured from wild fisheries was 14.4 kilograms, with an additional 7.4 kilograms harvested from fish farms.

Fishing in India

Fishing in India is a major industry in its coastal states, employing over 14 million people. In 2016-17, the country exported 11,34,948 metric tonnes of seafood worth US$ 5.78 billion (₹37,870.90 crore), frozen shrimp being the top item of export. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, fish production has increased more than tenfold since 1947 and doubled between 1990 and 2010.India has 8,129 kilometres (5,051 mi) of marine coastline, 3,827 fishing villages and 1,914 traditional fish landing centers. India's fresh water resources consist of 195,210 kilometres (121,300 mi) of rivers and canals, 2.9 million hectares of minor and major reservoirs, 2.4 million hectares of ponds and lakes, and about 0.8 million hectares of flood plain wetlands and water bodies. As of 2010, the marine and freshwater resources offered a combined sustainable catch fishing potential of over 4 million metric tonnes of fish. In addition, India's water and natural resources offer a tenfold growth potential in aquaculture (farm fishing) from 2010 harvest levels of 3.9 million metric tonnes of fish, if India were to adopt fishing knowledge, regulatory reforms and sustainability policies.

Individual fishing quota

Individual fishing quotas (IFQs) also known as "individual transferable quotas" (ITQs) are one kind of catch share, a means by which many governments regulate fishing. The regulator sets a species-specific total allowable catch (TAC), typically by weight and for a given time period. A dedicated portion of the TAC, called quota shares, is then allocated to individuals. Quotas can typically be bought, sold and leased, a feature called transferability. As of 2008, 148 major fisheries (generally, a single species in a single fishing ground) around the world had adopted some variant of this approach, along with approximately 100 smaller fisheries in individual countries. Approximately 10% of the marine harvest was managed by ITQs as of 2008. The first countries to adopt individual fishing quotas were the Netherlands, Iceland and Canada in the late 1970s, and the most recent is the United States Scallop General Category IFQ Program in 2010. The first country to adopt individual transferable quotas as a national policy was New Zealand in 1986.

Intertidal zone

The intertidal zone, also known as the foreshore and seashore and sometimes referred to as the littoral zone, is the area that is above water at low tide and underwater at high tide (in other words, the area between tide marks). This area can include many different types of habitats, with many types of animals, such as starfish, sea urchins, and numerous species of coral.

The well-known area also includes steep rocky cliffs, sandy beaches, or wetlands (e.g., vast mudflats). The area can be a narrow strip, as in Pacific islands that have only a narrow tidal range, or can include many meters of shoreline where shallow beach slopes interact with high tidal excursion. Peritidal zone is similar but a somewhat wider zone, extending from above the highest tide level to below that of the lowest tide level.

Organisms in the intertidal zone are adapted to an environment of harsh extremes. The intertidal zone is also home to many several species from different taxa including Porifera, Annelids, Coelenterates, Mollusks, crustaceans, Arthropods, etc. Water is available regularly with the tides but varies from fresh with rain to highly saline and dry salt with drying between tidal inundations. Wave splash can dislodge residents from the littoral zone. With the intertidal zone's high exposure to the sun, the temperature range can be anything from very hot with full sun to near freezing in colder climates. Some microclimates in the littoral zone are ameliorated by local features and larger plants such as mangroves. Adaptation in the littoral zone allows the use of nutrients supplied in high volume on a regular basis from the sea, which is actively moved to the zone by tides. Edges of habitats, in this case land and sea, are themselves often significant ecologies, and the littoral zone is a prime example.

A typical rocky shore can be divided into a spray zone or splash zone (also known as the supratidal zone), which is above the spring high-tide line and is covered by water only during storms, and an intertidal zone, which lies between the high and low tidal extremes. Along most shores, the intertidal zone can be clearly separated into the following subzones: high tide zone, middle tide zone, and low tide zone. The intertidal zone is one of a number of marine biomes or habitats, including estuaries, neritic, surface and deep zones.

Krill fishery

The krill fishery is the commercial fishery of krill, small shrimp-like marine animals that live in the oceans world-wide. The present estimate for the biomass of Antarctic krill (Euphausia superba) is 379 million tonnes. The total global harvest of krill from all fisheries amounts to 150–200,000 tonnes annually, mainly Antarctic krill and North Pacific krill (E. pacifica).

Krill are rich in protein (40% or more of dry weight) and lipids (about 20% in E. superba). Their exoskeleton amounts to some 2% of dry weight of chitin. They also contain traces of a wide array of hydrolytic enzymes such as proteases, carbohydrases, nucleases and phospholipases, which are concentrated in the digestive gland in the cephalothorax of the krill.

Most krill is used as aquaculture feed and fish bait; other uses include livestock or pet foods. Only a small percentage is prepared for human consumption. Their enzymes are interesting for medical applications, an expanding sector since the early 1990s.

Magnuson–Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act

The Magnuson–Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSFCMA), commonly referred to as the Magnuson–Stevens Act (MSA), is the legal provision for promoting optimal exploitation of U.S. coastal fisheries. Enacted in 1976, it has since been amended in line with sustainability policy.

Regional councils of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) determine when a stock is overfished, and apply both regional and individual catch limits. The NMFS has implemented the Fish Stock Sustainability Index (FSSI), which measures key stocks according to their overfishing status and biomass levels.

National Marine Fisheries Service

The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is the United States federal agency responsible for the stewardship of national marine resources. The agency conserves and manages fisheries to promote sustainability and prevent lost economic potential associated with overfishing, declining species, and degraded habitats.

Patagonian toothfish

The Patagonian toothfish (Dissostichus eleginoides) is a species of notothen found in cold waters (1–4 °C or 34–39 °F) between depths of 45 and 3,850 m (150 and 12,630 ft) in the southern Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Oceans and Southern Ocean on seamounts and continental shelves around most Subantarctic islands.

A close relative, the Antarctic toothfish, (Dissostichus mawsoni) is found farther south around the edges of the Antarctic shelf; and a Marine Stewardship Council-certified fishery is active in the Ross Sea.

The average weight of a commercially caught Patagonian toothfish is 7–10 kg (15–22 lb), depending on the fishery, with large adults occasionally exceeding 100 kilograms (220 lb). They are thought to live up to 50 years and to reach a length up to 2.3 m (7.5 ft). Several commercial fisheries exist for Patagonian toothfish, which are detailed below.

Seine fishing

Seine ( SAYN) fishing (or seine-haul fishing) is a method of fishing that employs a fishing net called a seine, that hangs vertically in the water with its bottom edge held down by weights and its top edge buoyed by floats. Seine nets can be deployed from the shore as a beach seine, or from a boat.

Boats deploying seine nets are known as seiners. Two main types of seine net are deployed from seiners: purse seines and Danish seines.

Shrimp fishery

The shrimp fishery is a major global industry, with more than 3.4 million tons caught per year, chiefly in Asia. Rates of bycatch are unusually high for shrimp fishing, with the capture of sea turtles being especially contentious.

A shrimper is a fishing vessel rigged for shrimp fishing.

Sustainable fishery

A conventional idea of a sustainable fishery is that it is one that is harvested at a sustainable rate, where the fish population does not decline over time because of fishing practices. Sustainability in fisheries combines theoretical disciplines, such as the population dynamics of fisheries, with practical strategies, such as avoiding overfishing through techniques such as individual fishing quotas, curtailing destructive and illegal fishing practices by lobbying for appropriate law and policy, setting up protected areas, restoring collapsed fisheries, incorporating all externalities involved in harvesting marine ecosystems into fishery economics, educating stakeholders and the wider public, and developing independent certification programs.

Some primary concerns around sustainability are that heavy fishing pressures, such as overexploitation and growth or recruitment overfishing, will result in the loss of significant potential yield; that stock structure will erode to the point where it loses diversity and resilience to environmental fluctuations; that ecosystems and their economic infrastructures will cycle between collapse and recovery; with each cycle less productive than its predecessor; and that changes will occur in the trophic balance (fishing down marine food webs).

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