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The realization that many world fisheries are either fully exploited or overexploited has resulted in increased attention being paid to the management of fishing capacity. While environmental factors have affected some fish stocks, excessive levels of fishing capacity is the primary cause of these declines.

The management of fishing capacity requires information on both the current level of capacity and some desirable or target level of capacity. However, measures of capacity had largely developed differently in various countries and comparisons between countries or even between different fisheries in some countries was not possible. To address this deficiency, FAO convened a Technical Consultation on the Measurement of Fishing Capacity in Mexico City, Mexico, from 29 November to 3 December 1999. It was attended by delegates from 56 Members of FAO, as well as a number of international observers. The key objective of the Consultation was to determine definitions of capacity that could be commonly accepted, and methods for deriving measures of capacity related to these definitions.

As a prelude to the discussion of the group, a number of papers were presented outlining current approaches used by member states to measure and manage fishing capacity, as well as papers proposing alternative means of measuring fishing capacity. Based on the experiences presented in these papers, the Technical Consultation agreed on a common definition of capacity, and on preferred means to measure fishing capacity. These conclusions are given in FAO Fisheries Report No. 615, published by FAO in 2000.

The papers presented at the Technical Consultation have played a pivotal role in the advancement of the study of fishing capacity. Many of the 'alternative' methods presented at the meeting are now becoming standard techniques in the measurement of fishing capacity, and a number of the papers presented at the meeting have been cited in subsequent studies of capacity. The interest in these original papers has increased over the last three years, largely as a result of these subsequent studies. This increased interest has led to the publication of this report, which includes 23 of the papers presented at the meeting. The papers presented in this report cover a range of areas, including theoretical considerations, case studies of current practice, and examples of alternative methods for assessing capacity.


All FAO Members and Associated Members
Interested Nations and International Organizations
Directors of Fisheries
FAO Fisheries Department
FAO Fisheries Officers in FAO Regional Offices
Interested Non-governmental Organizations

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