Coordinating Working Party on Fishery Statistics (CWP)

Fishery commodities classification

Fish, as a highly perishable commodity, often undergoes treatments which prolong its shelf life and quality as food. Fish is also a very widely traded commodity. When considering statistical aspects related to fish and fish products in the fishery industry as a whole, one is faced with a wide variety of raw fishery materials, semi-processed and fully-processed commodities, crossing all the various fishery phases. The physical magnitude and value of the intake and output of the different kinds of fishery commodities can be measured in specified periods of time - days, weeks, seasons, years, etc. Statistics covering any of the above phases must be dovetailed, linked or integrated and the first indispensable step is an adequate fishery commodity classification. The classification can be used as statistical standard for more than one statistical system, e.g. the trade system, industrial censuses, censuses of commercial and service establishments, wholesale and retail price systems, etc.

The FAO International Standard Statistical Classification of Fishery Commodities (ISSCFC) has been developed for the collation of national data in its fishery commodities production and trade databases. The ISSCFC is an expansion of the United Nations Standard International Trade Classification (SITC) developed by the United Nations' Statistical Office on the basis of earlier international work on the subject. It is linked with the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (abbreviated to HS) of the World Customs Organization. The ISSCFC covers products derived from fish, crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic animals, plants and residues caught for commercial, industrial or subsistence uses, by all types of fishing units operating in all aquatic environments, in inshore, offshore or high seas fishing. Commodities produced from the raw materials supplied by all kinds of aquaculture are also included.

The original classification is presented in Annex R.I and the currently used classification is presented in Annex R.II.


Data on fishery commodities are collected by the statistical questionnaire FISHSTAT FC1.

The statistical questionnaire FISHSTAT TR, designed to report international trade of fish and fishery products, is utilized for a small number of countries for whom statistics of external trade of fishery commodities are not broken-down to a sufficient level of detail in international trade compilations.


FAO. International Standard Statistical Classification of Fishery Commodities: Divisions and Group. FAO Fisheries Circular No.35. Rome, 1965. 14p.