FAO Fisheries Department

FAO Fisheries Circular No. 920 FIRM/C920(En)

Rome, 1997

ISSN 0429-9329



The state of the world's fish stocks and aquaculture is reviewed every two years by the Fishery Resources Division for the FAO's Committee on Fisheries (COFI). Previous reviews included all capture fisheries and aquaculture, but for the Twentieth Session of COFI, March 1993, the Review was divided into two parts: the world's marine resources, and inland fisheries and aquaculture, identified respectively as Part 1 and Part 2 of FAO Fisheries Circular No. 710. Due to the increasing importance of aquaculture production, for the Twenty-first Session of COFI, March 1995, the Review was produced in three parts, each as a separate document under the same general title: "Review of the State of World Fishery Resources". The document dealing with Marine Fisheries was issued in 1995 as FAO Fisheries Circular No. 884, and provided an update of a major revision produced by the Marine Resources Service, the "Review of the State of World Marine Fishery Resources", issued in 1994 as FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 335.

This Circular is primarily produced as a background information document for the Twenty-second Session of COFI, April 1997, and updates the information provided in FAO Technical Paper No. 335, Review of the State of World Marine Fishery Resources, issued in 1994, and in FAO Fisheries Circular No. 884, Review of the State of World Fishery Resources: Marine Fisheries, issued in 1995. It is intended that the Review of the State of the World Marine Fishery Resources will be completely revised every six years, with updates provided biennially.

Relevant sections of this review have been produced by the authors indicated in the table of contents. J. Csirke was responsible for the general coordination and final editing of this document, with the valuable assistance of J. Cannon. R. Coppola and F. Carocci assisted with the preparation of tables and illustrations, C. Trabucco with the final formatting and design, and E. D'Antoni illustrated the front cover.

FAO Marine Resources Service, Fishery Resources Division.
Review of the state of world fishery resources: marine fisheries.
FAO Fisheries Circular. No. 920. Rome, FAO. 1997. 173 p.


This paper updates the regular reviews of the state of the world's marine fish stocks, based mainly on statistics through 1994. The introduction refers to the limits of world fish production and to major trends in world fisheries since 1950. Attention is drawn to the generalized high level of exploitation of the more valuable marine resources. More detailed remarks are provided for each FAO statistical area, together with a discussion of the major changes and trends that have occurred in specific resources and the fishery assessment strategies in current use in support of fisheries management in each region. Special sections address the global issue of tunas and tuna-like species and other special topics dealing with lanternfishes as a potential resource, and global synchrony in fish populations. Summary tables are provided for each statistical area showing historical and recent landings for the major marine resources and judgements on their current state of exploitation.


1. A perspective on fisheries trends offered by estimates of production per shelf area - J.F. Caddy
2. Development trends and potential - R. Grainger and S. Garcia
1. Northwest Atlantic - R. Shotton (Area 21) (table I)
2. Northeast Atlantic - J. Cannon (Area 27) (table II)
3. Western Central Atlantic - K. Cochrane (Area 31) (table III)
4. Eastern Central Atlantic - M. Lamboeuf (Area 34) (table IV)
5. Mediterranean and Black Sea - J.F. Caddy (Area 37) (table V)
6. Southwest Atlantic - J. Csirke (Area 41) (table VI)
7. Southeast Atlantic - K. Cochrane (Area 47) (table VII)
8. Western Indian Ocean - R. Shotton (Area 51) (table VIII)
9. Eastern Indian Ocean - P. Martosubroto (Area 57) (table IX)
10. Northwest Pacific - A. Bakun (Area 61) (table X)
11. Northeast Pacific - A. Bakun (Area 67) (table XI)
12. Western Central Pacific - P. Martosubroto (Area 71) (table XII)
13. Eastern Central Pacific - J. Csirke (Area 77) (table XIII)
14. Southwest Pacific - R. Shotton (Area 81) (table XIV)
15. Southeast Pacific - J. Csirke (Area 87) (table XV)
16. South Pacific islands - T. Adams and J. Majkowski (Areas 71 and 77)
17. Southern Oceans - R. Shotton (Areas 48,58,88) (Table XVI)
1. Global resources of tuna and tuna-like species - J. Majkowski (table XVII)
2. Lanternfishes: a fishery in the Northern Arabian Sea? - R. Shotton
3. Global synchrony in fish population variations - A. Bakun
Notes for all tables
Tables I to XVII

CALL TO READERS.- Readers who are willing to contribute to improving the accuracy of future revisions of this document are kindly requested to address their contributions under the heading "C920 Resources Review" to: Chief, Marine Resources Service, FAO, Via delle Terme di Caracalla, 00100 Rome, Italy.