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APFIC Regional overview of fisheries and aquaculture in Asia and the Pacific 2012

Category Key publications, APFIC Regional overview of fisheries & aquaculture

The APFIC Regional overview of fisheries and aquaculture in the Asia-Pacific 2012 is an ongoing biennial effort by the Commission to collate national sources of data that can help to explain some of the background effects on the fisheries of the region. The ultimate goal of this is to organize fisheries-relevant information into meaningful geographical, biological and governance units so that the fisheries and their resources can be considered at a level of detail that is not possible using aggregated national catches or the FAO statistical areas.

The capture fisheries review is divided into three subregions, the South China Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Sulu-Sulawesi and Timor-Arafura Seas subregion. The principal fishery indicators that are covered in the overview are as follows:

  • Resource related: Catch composition by groupings of species; catch trends; fishing status of species groups; fishmeal production; surimi production
  • Effort related: CPUE of gears and target species groups; vessel numbers and types
  • Socio-economic related indicator: employment
  • Management related: zoning measures; types of management measures;definitions/classifications of small-scale and commercial fisheries; existence of protected areas or fisheries closed seasons/areas

The Asia-Pacific region continues to be the world’s largest producer of fish. The capture production of the Asia-Pacific region has exceeded 50% of world production since 2006. Asia-Pacific capture production declined slightly from 2004 to 2006, whereafter it started to increase, with a 3.5% rise between 2009 and 2010. Latest FAO figures (2010) for the Asia-Pacific are 48.7 million tonnes. Global capture fishery production has followed a similar trend over the past decade.

Of the top ten producers of capture fish in the world, five states are in Asia and the Pacific region. China is still by far the largest producer in the region (15.7 million tonnes) representing 32 percent of total regional production (slight reduction over the previous biennium), followed by Indonesia (5.4 million tonnes, 11%) and India (4.7 million tonnes, 10%).

Excluding China, capture fishery production from marine waters in the APFIC region has recorded its highest catch ever, with 26.5 million tonnes in 2008, but this was exceeded in 2010 with a catch of 32.0 million tonnes. Southeast Asian capture production (17.3 million tonnes) has continued to increase and there has been a slower increase in South Asia (7.4 million tonnes. The sub-region Other Asia used to be the top contributor to capture fishery production in the region, but capture production has declined since 1988 and now shows signs of levelling off (6.1 million tonnes).

The general trend in global capture fisheries is one of stable capture fishery production with background fluctuations in different fisheries. Asian capture fisheries have generally been stable or increasing over the past decade.

  • Capture fishery production in China has been very stable, rising and falling by only one or two percent over the past decade with a total decadal rise of 4%.
  • In Southeast Asia, the trend is for consistent slight annual increases of 2 to 4%, with a decadal increase of 29%.
  • In South Asia the changes are more dramatic increasing and decreasing by 5 to 8%, but an overall decadal increase of 28%.
  • Other Asia is relatively stable with an overall decline of 16% over the decade.
  • Oceania has had rather large decreases in production over the past 5 years, but the decadal trend is an increase of 9%.

The consistent increases in capture fishery production that are being is achieved in the South Asian and South East Asian sub-regions of APFIC member countries can be attributed to several effects. These are the increase in fishing effort, expansion of the geographical range of fishing activities and increasing the overall biomass of the fishery by fishing down effects (i.e. removing larger longer lived species and allowing a higher biomass of shorter lived small fast recruiting species).

The expansion of new areas and transhipment of fish between fishing areas complicates trend reporting by area and the determination of the status of stocks in specific localities. This may also lead to the false assumption that there remains significant potential for further expansion of fishing.

There remains a considerable proportion of the region’s capture production that is not identified at the species level but instead is recorded as marine/freshwater fish nei, marine/freshwater molluscs nei and marine/freshwater crustaceans nei.

In 2010 the amount of capture production that was reported in Asia and the Pacific region and not identified at species, genus, or family level. in these groups reached 15.8 million tonnes (32% of the regional total production). This is an increase over the 2008 figure of 30% (14.3 million tonnes ).

Inland capture fisheries production in the region continues to increase, rising increased by 13.7% over the 2008 figure reaching 7.6 million tonnes in 2010. The top countries producing 97% of the region’s inland capture of inland fish are China, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Thailand, VietNam, Philippines and Pakistan.

The APFIC region now contributes 68 percent of global inland fisheries production. In inland waters, excluding China, total production of the region reported in 2010 was 5.3 million tonnes. Rising 19.7% over the 2008 level. South Asia contributes 37% of the regions production, South East Asia 30%. For the Chinese sub-region, inland production in 2010 was 2.3 million tonnes (30.2 % of the total regional catch).

This overall rapid increase in inland fisheries is unlikely to be due to massive increases in productivity per fisher, although there is undoubtedly increasing interest and effort being applied to enhance inland waters in the region to increase productivity. The increasing populations in developing countries of SouthEast Asia and South Asia mean that there are increasing numbers of inland fishers and thus effort is also increasing. Part of the increase is also considered to be due to significant re-evaluation of the contribution of inland fisheries that upward revision of previous underestimates of inland production. This is a cause for concern since actual production in some countries’ inland fisheries may be declining.

The aquaculture section of the overview covers different commodity groupings across the region. The Asia-Pacific region continues to be the dominant aquaculture producing region of the world. In 2010, the region produced 53.1 million tonnes of aquaculture products (excluding aquatic plants), representing 89% of the global aquaculture production of 59.9 million tonnes. This production has a rate of growth of 6.5 %.yr-1 between 2000-2010.

In terms of value, the region’s share amounted to some $ 95.2 billion (growing at 10.5 %.yr-1 between 2000-2010). This value equated to 80% of the total value of global aquaculture, which reached $ 119.6 billion in 2010. When aquatic plants are included (the vast majority of which is cultivated in the Asia-Pacific region), the region becomes even more dominant, producing 71.9 million tonnes worth $ 100.8 billion (out of 78.9 million tonnes, worth $ 125.2 billion worldwide).

This represents 91% of global aquaculture production by quantity and 81% by value in 2010. Compared with 2000, the share of both production (90 %) and value (80 %) remain almost unchanged. The growth rate of aquaculture production in the region has continued to be very strong, with yearly growth rate in terms of quantity of 6.7% between 2000-2010 (almost identical to the world-wide trend, as this region is the major driving force). The growth rate in aquaculture production in the APFIC region used to result primarily from the high growth rates in China, but growth in the APFIC region excluding China overtook that of China during 2000-2010 at 9.3 %.yr-1, compared to 5.5 %.yr-1 for China alone.

Of the top 10 aquaculture producing countries in the world, 8 (including the top three) are from the Asia-Pacific region. The biggest producer by far is China (producing 37.1 million tonnes worth $ 60.3 billion), followed by India (4.6 million tonnes worth $ 9.1 billion) and Viet Nam (2.7 million tonnes worth $ 5.2 billion) excluding aquatic plants in 2010. Other major producers in the region are Indonesia, Bangladesh, Thailand, Myanmar, the Philippines and Japan.

The countries with the fastest growing aquaculture productions in the past decade in the region are Myanmar, Viet Nam , Indonesia and India.

As a regional sourcebook of trends in fisheries and aquaculture, the information contained in this review will support regional dialogue on the status of these marine fishery subregions and the commodity trends in aquaculture. The presentation of information in this format enables policy issues to be viewed in a broader context and can increase our understanding of how they relate to other aspects of fisheries and aquaculture management. It is expected that this review will also encourage APFIC member countries to look deeper into the information and statistics that they collect regularly or occasionally, and try to present them in a more integrated, holistic manner, thereby deepening the analysis and understanding of trends in the region’s fisheries and aquaculture. 

Funge-Smith, S., Briggs, M. & Miao, W. 2012.Regional overview of fisheries and aquaculture in Asia and the Pacific 2012. Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission, FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. RAP Publication 2012/26. 139 pp.