Commercial Fishing Industry: Fishing Around the World

Fishing or production of fish found in the sea, ocean, rivers, and lakes in the conditions and seasons determined by the regulations is called fishing. The fishing of sea creatures such as mussels, shrimp, octopus, whale, and oysters is also included in fishing. Fishing is divided into two main branches as hunting and production. You can also mention amateur fishing, commercial fishing, and hobby fishing. They also diversify as freshwater fishing and saltwater fishing. The largest sector in fishing worldwide is the commercial fishing industry. So, do you know what exactly does commercial fishing industry means?

The commercial fishing industry is a developing sector since the foundations of commercial fishing were laid in the 15th century. Commercial fishing, which has an important place in the economies of many countries, is generally carried out in open seas and with medium tonnage vessels. 88% of the fish caught are marine and the other 12% are freshwater fish. The USA, Russia, Norway, England, Canada, and Spain follow Japan, which takes first place in commercial fishing. The amount of fish caught by Japan alone is over 10 million tons per year. The fishing fleets of these countries are equipped with devices that can process the fish caught on site.

Apart from these, there are also commercial but easier methods. For example, in the longline method, hundreds of needles with bait are left on a buoy on the water and wait for 24 hours in the sea. The fish are collected at the end of 24 hours and taken to the boat.

Commercial fishing emerged in the late 15th century. Within the next two centuries, a large fishing industry emerged. Large fishing fleets were established, equipped with various equipment, to handle the fish caught. However, overfishing began to threaten fishing and has become a serious problem today. The catch of fry fish or females preparing to lay eggs, with some form of hunting, brought the extinction of many fish species.

Today, measures such as restricting the amount of fish to be caught and banning fishing during the breeding season are taken in many countries to overcome this problem. In order to prevent commercial fishing to harm the natural habitat of aquatic species and to accelerate the extinction of certain species, it must be done according to the regulations and rules. Otherwise, it will cause more harm than benefit for mankind. These regulations and rules include region restrictions, length (for fish) restrictions, and period restrictions, in general.

The Status of Commercial Fishing and Aquaculture Industries in the World

While tackling the disproportionate effects of climate change on resources and environmental degradation, human societies will also face the enormous challenge of the obligation to provide food and livelihoods to a population of over 9 billion people by the mid-twenty-first century. The United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) offers a unique, transformative, and inclusive approach that will enable the world to enter a sustainable and flexible path that leaves no one behind.

Food and agriculture are key to the successful realization of all SDGs, and many of the SDGs, especially SDG No.14 (Conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas, and marine resources towards sustainable development), are associated with fisheries and aquaculture. It is directly linked. Acting as a result of public and political interest, the United Nations held a high-level Ocean Conference in New York in June 2017 to support the implementation of SDG 14.

This event was followed by the appointment of Fiji’s Peter Thomson as UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy to the Ocean, and the launch of ‘Ocean Action Societies’ to monitor and fulfill more than 1,400 voluntary commitments recorded at the Ocean Conference. The global momentum for the implementation of the SDG has shaped a number of international discourses since the publication of the State of Fisheries and Aquaculture in the World 2016 edition. Here, I would like to underline the specific target of the SDG No.14 to end illegal, unrecorded, and unregulated (IUF) fishing by 2020.

While FAO’s Optional Guidelines for Fishing Certification Programs for fish caught for commercial purposes were approved in July 2017, FAO’s policy is to help prevent the abandonment, loss, or other disposals of fishing gear and their harmful effects. The Guidelines on Fishing Equipment Labeling will be discussed for approval at the 2018 session of the FAO Fisheries Committee (approved at the 33rd session of the aforementioned Committee). Successful implementation of the LDTA, Global Register, and these guidelines will constitute a milestone in the fight against IUA fisheries and will also be beneficial for the long-term conservation and sustainable use of living marine resources.

The Paris Agreement of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which entered into force on November 4, 2016, has become an element always ready for any situation in terms of the international discourse on the oceans. Aiming to bring the global temperature rise in this century to 2 ° C below pre-industrial levels, this agreement recognizes that preserving food security and ending hunger are top priorities. As the co-director of the UNFCCC Ocean Action Agenda and as an organization supporting the Koronivia Joint Agricultural Work, implemented by the Parties participating in the twenty-third Conference of the UNFCCC (COP 23), FAO is committed to food security and fisheries for food security, especially for the developing world. and increased awareness of the important role of aquaculture.

The Importance of Commercial Fishing for People

The 2018 State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture highlights the vital importance of fisheries and aquaculture in terms of food, nutrition, and employment for millions of people, many of whom live in a struggle for decent livelihoods. As of 2016, the total fish production broke the all-time record with 171 million tons, 88 percent of which was used directly in human consumption, thanks to more balanced fishing compared to the past, reduced waste, and increasing aquaculture.

This production resulted in a consumption of 20.3 kg per capita, which is also a record figure as of 2016. Since 1961, the global increase in fish consumption has doubled as population growth, which reveals that the fishing industry is vital to achieving the FAO’s goal of a world without hunger and malnutrition. Although the annual growth of aquaculture has declined over the past years, remarkable double-digit growth figures are still recorded in some countries, particularly in Africa and Asia.

The sector’s contribution to economic development and the fight against poverty is also increasing. Intense demand and increasing prices increased global seafood exports to 152 billion USD as of 2017, 54 percent of which are from developing countries. Maintaining complete and accurate national statistics within the scope of ensuring biological safety and fighting animal diseases successfully, supporting policy formulation and implementation, and the need to reduce fish stocks, which are currently 33.1 percent beyond biological sustainability, are some of the challenges facing the fisheries and aquaculture industry.

These and other challenges include FAO’s innovative, integrated, and multisectoral management of water resources aimed at maximizing ecosystem products and services from the use of oceans, inland waters, and wetlands, as well as achieving social and economic gains initiative, the Blue Growth Initiative. The State of Fisheries and Aquaculture in the World is the only publication of this kind that provides technical insight and factual information on a sector that is becoming more and more accustomed to its vital importance for social success.

In addition to reporting on the major trends and structures observed in global fisheries and aquaculture, this pressure is to ensure that water resources are sustainably deployed to ensure the realization of SDGs, including the development of cooperation through regional fisheries structures and developments such as blockchain technology. It scans the horizon for new and future areas that need to be considered so that we can manage its transfer to the future, tackle the root causes of poverty and poverty, and build a more just society where no one is left behind.

Commercial Fishing Trade and Products

In 2016, 151 million tons, corresponding to approximately 88 percent of 171 million tons of total production, was used for direct human consumption. This rate, which was around 67 percent in the 1960s, has increased significantly in the past few decades. In 2016, a large portion of 15 million tons, which constitutes 74 percent of the non-food used 12 percent of the total production, which is approximately 20 million tons, was used in fish feed and fish oil production. The remaining 5 million tons of the production was used in direct fish feeding, feeding other live animals and fur animals, and making fishing feed and medicine.

Live, fresh or chilled products are generally the most preferred and have the highest price. 45 percent of these products are used for direct human consumption. 31% of the rest is frozen, 12% is canned and 12% is cured (dried, salted, pickled, fermented, and smoked) products. Preservation in ice is the main processing method of seafood intended for human consumption.

In 2016, 56 percent of the products processed for human consumption and 27 percent of the total aquaculture production consisted of products preserved in ice. In addition to processing methods, significant advances in cold preservation, ice making, and transport have enabled the increased trade and distribution of fishery products in a wider variety of product forms over the past few decades. However, developing countries still consume their fishery products either live or fresh as soon as they land or immediately after they are harvested from farms (This amount corresponds to 53 percent of fishery products intended for human consumption as of 2016).

Although the amount of loss and waste between the landing and consumption of fishery products has decreased, it still corresponds to 27 percent of the fishery products taken ashore. Live or processed fishery products are currently one of the most traded food products worldwide, and the vast majority of countries are somehow engaged in the aquaculture trade. In 2016, approximately 35 percent of global aquaculture production was included in international trade for human consumption and non-food purposes in various ways.

The share of fishery products for human consumption and export in global aquaculture production increased from 11 percent in 1976 to 27 percent in 2016 and showed an increasing trend. When the export of 60 million tons (equivalent to live weight) of aquaculture products in 2016 is compared with 1976, it is seen that there is an increase of 245 percent. When this amount is evaluated only in terms of fishery products for human consumption, there is an increase of more than 510 percent.

During the same period, world trade of fishery products increased significantly in monetary value. The export figure, which was 8 billion USD in 1976, increased by 8 percent annually in nominal terms and 4 percent in real terms, reaching 143 billion USD in 2016.
The recent rapid growth trend in international trade of seafood took place within the scope of the large-scale transformation of the world economy driven by a wide globalization process and trade liberalization and technological developments.

Developing countries play a key role in this trade, and the growth rate of export values ​​has increased faster than developed countries over the past 40 years. According to preliminary figures for 2016 and 2017, the exports of developing countries constitute approximately 54 percent of the total fisheries exports in terms of value and approximately 59 percent in terms of quantity.

China is the world’s leading producer of aquaculture products. Despite this feature, exports of fisheries correspond to only 1 percent of their total trade since 2002. Norway and Vietnam follow China as the largest fisheries exporter. The European Union, which is the largest importer of seafood, is followed by the USA and Japan. All developed countries have 71 percent of global imports as of 2016, and this is also true for 2017 according to preliminary figures.

The Production of Commercial Fishing and Aquaculture Industry

In 2016, global total fishing production was 90.9 million tons, showing a slight decrease compared to the previous two years, based on information obtained from FAo’s fishing database. The world’s total sea fishing was 81.2 million tons in 2015 and 79.3 million tons in 2016. The anchovy (Engraulis Ringens) hunt, which was hunted by Peru and Chile and showed an extremely volatile course, decreased 1.1 million tons due to the effect of Hurricane El Nino. Declining catches affected 64 percent of the 25 largest producing countries, while it affected only 37 percent of the remaining 170 countries.

For China, by far the largest producer in the world, the total amount of seafood catches remained stable as of 2016. However, within the scope of the gradual reduction policy in the Thirteenth Five-Year National Plan for the years 2016-2020, a reduction of more than 5 million tons by 2020 is expected to cause significant decreases for the coming years.

Alaska cod (Theragra Chalcogramma) took the lead of the anchovy in 2016, as in 2014, and reached the highest catch amount since 1998. However, preliminary data for 2017 show a significant increase in anchovy catches. The striped tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis) maintained its third place in a row for its seventh year in a row. Production of the most valuable species groups such as lobsters, gastropods, crabs, and shrimps, whose average estimated values ​​are between USD 8,800 / t and 3,800 USD / t, broke a new catch record in 2016.

The total amount of global fishing in inland waters increased by 2 percent compared to the previous year and 10.5 percent compared to the average between 2005-2014, reaching 11.6 million tons. In 2016, 16 countries, most of which are in Asia, hunted approximately 80 percent of this hunt. It can be misleading that inland fisheries production tends to increase continuously. Because this increase is not only due to the increase in production but to some extent from the improved catch records of the countries.

As of 2016, global aquaculture production (including aquatic plants) was 110.2 million tons, with an estimated initial sales value of US $ 243.5 billion. In light of new information available from some of the largest producing countries, the re-evaluated initial sales value appears to be significantly higher than previous estimates. Total production includes 37,900 tons of non-food products (214.6 million USD), as well as 80.0 million tons of edible fisheries (231.6 billion USD) and 30.1 million tons of aquatic plants (11.7 billion USD).

While the contribution of aquaculture, which has been on the rise, to global production in 2000, it increased to 46.8 percent in 2016. Although aquaculture could not catch the high annual growth rates it showed in the 1980s and 1990s, it has grown faster than the other leading food production sectors with an annual growth rate of 5.8 percent in the 2001-2016 period.

In the world aquaculture, the production of aquatic species produced by feeding has left behind aquatic species that are not fed. In terms of total aquatic species production, the rate of non-feeding species gradually decreased by 10 percent between 2000 and 2016, declining to 30.5 percent. Aquatic plants, which are largely dominated by seaweeds, collected from nature and produced, had a production amount of 13.5 million tons in 1995, while it has an important place in total aquaculture with a production of 31.2 million tons in 2016.

Commercial Fishing and Seafood Consumption

From 1961 until today, the average annual growth rate (3.2%) in world aquaculture consumption surpasses the population growth rate (1.6%). The annual growth rate of aquaculture consumption exceeded the total meat consumption (2.8%) from all terrestrial animals (bovine, ovine, pig, and others), with the exception of poultry (4.9%). Per capita consumption of fisheries has increased from 9.0 kg in 1961 to 20.2 kg as of 2015, with an annual average increase of 1.5%.

Preliminary estimates for 2016 and 2017 indicate that this will increase further, to 20.3 and 20.5 kg, respectively. The increase in per capita consumption is not just an increase resulting from an increase in production. In this increase; Many different factors such as increasing population, improvement in income and increase in demand due to urbanization, reduction of losses, better utilization of products, and improvement of distribution channels also have an effect.

Globally, aquaculture contributes only approximately 34 calories per person per day. However, the contribution of seafood to nutrition, apart from being an energy source, is that it has high-quality, easily digestible animal proteins and is especially important in combating micronutrient deficiencies. A 150 gram serving of seafood meets approximately 50 to 60 percent of an adult’s daily protein requirement. Proteins originating from fisheries are also extremely important in the nutrition of some densely populated countries where total protein intake is low, and especially in developing small island countries (SIDS).

While 47 percent of the world’s aquaculture consumption was realized by Europe, Japan, and the United States in 1961, this rate decreased to 20 percent in 2015. More than two-thirds of world consumption of 149 million tons was in Asia (106 million tons, 24.0 kg per person), while Oceania and Africa had the lowest consumption share. In addition to the evident difference between the economic growth rates emerging day by day around the world, the structural changes in the sector and the increasing role of Asian countries in aquaculture production have been effective in this difference.

Commercial Fishermen and Fish Farmers

According to the official statistics of 2016, 59.6 million people directly work in hunting and aquaculture. 19.3 million of these people are employed in aquaculture and the remaining 40.3 million in hunting. While the rate of those employed in hunting decreased from 83 percent in 1990 to 68 percent in 2016, the rate of those employed in aquaculture increased from 17 percent to 32 percent in the same period.

As of 2016, 85% of the population in the hunting and aquaculture sectors lived in Asia, followed by Africa (10%), Latin America, and the Caribbean (4%). The distribution of people working in the primary sectors of fisheries and aquaculture differs from region to region. Europe and North America experienced the largest decline in the number of people engaged in both sectors, especially with the decline in game fishing.

In contrast, Africa and Asia show an overall positive trend in terms of the number of people engaged in hunting, with higher population growth and an increasingly economically active population in the agricultural sector. This trend shows much higher rates in terms of the number of people engaged in aquaculture. During the period 2009-2016, the proportion of women in the total population directly employed in the primary sector of fisheries and aquaculture was 15.2 percent. In 2016, this rate is estimated at 14 percent, partly due to less reported gender discrimination.

As of 2016, it is estimated that the total number of fishing vessels in the world will remain around 4.6 million, unchanged from 2014. Asia has 75 percent of the global fleet with 3.5 million ships. The estimated number of ships in Africa and North America decreased by around 5,000 from 30,000 as of 2014. All figures for Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean, and Oceania have all increased, largely as a result of improvements in estimation procedures.

Globally, the number of motor ships is expected to be approximately 2.8 million by 2016 and to maintain its value in 2014. While motor ships represented 61 percent of all fishing vessels in the world as of 2016, this figure was around 64 percent in 2014. This change was likely due to an increase in the number of non-motorized ships, thanks to an improvement in estimates.

In 2016, approximately 86 percent of motor fishing vessels in the world were smaller than 12 meters in full length. These small ships, most of which have no decks, are concentrated in all regions. Vessels with a total length of more than 24 meters make up approximately 2 percent of the total fleet.

Commercial Fishing Resources

The proportion of fish stocks at biologically sustainable levels showed a decreasing trend, declining from 90.0 percent in 1974 to 66.9 percent in 2015. In contrast, the proportion of stocks caught at biologically unsustainable levels reached its highest levels in the 1970s and 1980s. This rate, which was 10 percent in 1974, increased to 33.1 percent in 2015.

In 2015; Among the total assessed stocks, the highest sustainably caught stocks (previously referred to as fully caught fish stocks) were 59.9 percent, while the proportion of under-caught stocks was 7.0 percent. The insufficiently hunted stock rate has decreased continuously from 1974 until 2015. The highest level of sustainable fishing stocks declined between 1974 and 1989 and increased in the following years to 59.9 percent in 2015.

In 2015, of the 16 key statistical regions, the Mediterranean and Black Sea (Area 37) had the highest proportion of unsustainable stocks (62.2%), followed by the Southeast Pacific (Area 87) and the Southeast Atlantic (Area 41) with 61.5 percent. In contrast, the Middle East Pacific (Area 77), Northeast Pacific (Area 67), Northwest Pacific (Area 61), Midwest Pacific (Area 71), and Southwest Pacific (Area 81) have the lowest proportions of biologically unsustainable fish stock levels ( 13-17%).

Policies Regarding Commercial Fishing

The commitment that no one will be left behind in fisheries and aquaculture is a call for action and cooperation to achieve the core objectives of the 2030 Agenda for the benefit of all workers, their families, and the communities of which they are a part of the industry. Aquatic Life, the Sustainable Development Goal 14 (SDG 14), has clear links with the fisheries and aquaculture sectors. Fisheries constitute an integral part of healthy ecosystems and the ecosystem approach to fishing (EAF) and the ecosystem approach to aquaculture (EAA) are being expanded within the scope of the management of hunting and aquaculture.

However, the industry is also highly correlated with nine other SDAs. The focus on governance and development of fisheries is therefore extended not only to the protection of resources, biodiversity, and the environment, but also to the recognition of social activity, the well-being and livelihoods of people working in the sector, and the contributions of fisheries to interconnected global agendas, such as food security, nutrition, and trade. Through a series of conferences, events, and other platforms, the international community strives to ensure that stakeholders from the fisheries and aquaculture sector participate in the SDG decisions, and raises awareness to support policies and practices that will enable the industry to contribute to all ten SDGs.

At the biennial meetings held by the FAO Fisheries Committee, which serves as the only intergovernmental forum on a global scale and examines international fisheries and aquaculture issues, governments, regional fisheries organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), fisheries workers, FAo, and The 2030 Agenda is supported by recommendations and guidance to the international community. The Ocean Conference of the United Nations in 2017 (officially the SDF No.14: a high-level United Nations Conference on promoting the conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas, and marine resources towards sustainable development) is the first UN global event for the oceans.

Results from the conference include the adoption of a Call to Action focusing on concrete and action-oriented recommendations and more than 1300 voluntary commitments towards future work towards the realization of SDG # 14. As people consume more aquaculture than ever before, the Principles for Responsible Fisheries (PRF) are becoming more and more prominent as a guiding framework for the implementation of the principles of sustainable development of fisheries and aquaculture. New initiatives to improve the implementation of the PRF include SDG-compliant investments, integrated networks for reducing IUF (Illegal and Unregistered Fishing) fisheries, and efforts to manage food production risks arising from aquaculture.

Supporting, regulating, and monitoring responsible fishing practices through strong fisheries management and governance frameworks is essential to the sustainability of both coastal and offshore fisheries resources. The principles of responsible fisheries management are set out in a range of international ocean and fisheries indicators. However, States cannot always properly fulfill their duties with regard to the documents in question. Hence, IUF fishing often takes place, which harms national, regional, and global efforts to manage fisheries in a sustainable way.

For States, identifying IUF fishing alone is not enough. Fisheries laws and regulations should be strengthened, and effective action should be taken to eliminate violations and those who commit crimes. Although States need to further improve their implementation and performance of port state measures, significant achievements have been made in the fight against IUF fishing.

These include International guidelines to support the use of catch certificates for better traceability of fisheries throughout the value chain, the establishment of global and regional registration of fishing vessels, and the adoption of the FAO Agreement on Port States’ Actions to Prevent, Deter, and Eliminate Illegal, Unrecorded and Unregulated Fishing. The LDTA, Certification Guidelines, and Global Register represent a synergistic framework for tackling IUF.

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Savaş Ateş

When I was a kid I had a small aquarium in our home. I had different kinds of fishes. I like fishes. Then I started to research all kinds of fishes and fishing too. I read lots of books about them. I like to share my experiences.

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