Coordinating Working Party on Fishery Statistics (CWP)

Capture fisheries statistics

Fisheries statistics fall into three categories: documenting the removal of fish and other organisms, documenting the fishing effort and the fleets that exploit the resources and documenting the labour force, income, costs and invested capital that is used in this exploitation. Fishery is an economic sector of society and fisheries statistics are required for effective policy-making and sectoral planning. Fisheries statistics are essential as a basis for describing the contribution of fisheries to national food supply and to the economy (e.g. through the system of national economic accounts). Policy-making often is done with one or more of the following objectives:

  • to assure that exploitation is within sustainable limits and in general in accordance with the FAO Code of conduct on responsible fisheries
  • to produce enough fish for domestic requirements
  • to develop exports (foreign currency income to the country)
  • to improve the socio-economic conditions of fishers
  • to promote expansion of fisheries (improve the economy of the country)

In analysing the needs for information the relations between the statistics and these essential policy questions are key determining factors.

Fisheries statistics are required in relation to monitoring, surveillance and control of the exploitation of the resources.

The focus in modern fisheries management is based on conservation of natural resources, food supply and economic performance through the control of fishing capacity, fishing effort and the allocation of catch quotas and temporal/spatial access to resources. Fishery statistics, including data on fishers and fishing vessels, are essential to the monitoring and management of fisheries.