marine fisheries in Southeast Asia

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Introduction of industrial fishing and more effective fishing technologies resulted in extremely rapid growth in production from wild marine fish stocks in the Southeast Asia region. This has been achieved by a process of sequentially depleting wild fish stocks within an essentially unregulated management environment so that fleets moved from one target species to another and from one area to another to sustain landings.

However, this process has now run its course because there are virtually no new unexploited fish stocks or areas remaining that fishing fleets can move to, despite recent trends of offshore fishing fleets of the region moving into the Pacific and Indian Oceans to fish for highly migratory species such as tuna.

This report provides a fascinating account of the rise and fall of different types of industrial fishing in Southeast Asia, starting with pearling and moving through phases that included trawling, purse seining, drift netting, trolling and more recently tuna longlining/poling/purse seining. This historic account of the boom and bust activities of industrial fishing highlights the need for a thorough overhaul of existing fisheries policies in the region and a move towards much more sustainable development.


The history of industrial
marine fisheries in
Southeast Asia

He Changchui
Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative
FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific