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FOREWORD

Several decades ago, the efforts of public administrations were concentrated on developing fisheries and aquaculture and ensuring growth in production and consumption. Then, in the 1980s, as many resources became fully exploited or overexploited, the attention of policy-makers began to focus instead on fisheries management, in addition to development of aquaculture. Subsequent recognition of the many failures in management have now led FAO member countries and other relevant stakeholders to broaden the approach and governance; that is, the sum of the legal, social, economic and political arrangements used to manage fisheries and aquaculture in a sustainable manner is currently seen as a necessary context for management and is becoming the main concern.

In keeping with these developments, the issue of governance features in several places of The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2006. Part 1 of the document – the World Review of Fisheries and Aquaculture – ends with a new section called “Governance and policy”. Governance issues and related concerns are addressed also in several places in the remainder of the text.

Aquaculture continues to expand, while marine capture fisheries – when summed together worldwide – seem to have reached a ceiling. This development was not unexpected. It has constituted a basic assumption in most discussions and studies concerned with the future of the fisheries sector. Past issues of the report have reported on projections for the sector. Although it may be early to evaluate the accuracy of such projections, it can be interesting to compare them with the developments that actually took place. A brief attempt in this respect is made in the last section, entitled “Outlook”. Reflecting the growing importance of aquaculture, the section ends with a discussion of the challenges that aquaculture is facing as well as of the opportunities that are open to the sector. The discussion is based on a prospective analysis of the aquaculture sector worldwide, which was undertaken by FAO in the past two years.

The format of The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture remains unchanged. Like previous issues, this issue contains a CD-ROM with the World Fisheries and Aquaculture Atlas.

Ichiro Nomura
Assistant Director-General
FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department