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Asia is the world’s foremost capture fishery and aquaculture producer and is home to the majority of the world’s fishers and fishing vessels. Consequently, one would expect this importance to be reflected in the national development discourse of Asian countries. This review by the Asia-Pacific Fishery Commission (APFIC) considers whether this is so by examining the socio-economic importance of fisheries in the region in terms of their contribution to primary exports, domestic protein consumption, employment, and the incidence of poverty within fishing communities. Furthermore, using a content analysis of key policy documents, the review assesses whether fisheries have been mainstreamed into national development and poverty reduction strategies produced across the APFIC region. The review concludes by offering some recommendations as to how APFIC member countries might strengthen the presence of the sector in the development discourse. This review will be of value to those who seek to understand the direction of fisheries policy in developing countries of Asia and the Pacific region better, particularly for the purpose of strengthening the visibility of fisheries in national development planning.

Integrating fisheries into the development discourse
He Changchui
Assistant Director-General and FAO Regional
Representative for Asia and the Pacific