Report of the Workshop to Develop an FAO Strategy for Assessing the State of Inland Capture Fishery Resources, Rome, 7–9 December 2011.
FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Report No. 1016. Rome. 37 pp.
A Workshop was convened to develop a strategy to improve the state of information on the status of inland fisheries. Inland fisheries are a vital component in the livelihoods of people in many parts of the developed and developing world. Globally, lakes, reservoirs and wetlands cover a total area of about 7.8 million km2 and provide a rich environment for inland fisheries. The Twenty-eighth Session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries observed that, "data and statistics on small-scale fisheries, especially in inland waters, were not always comprehensive, resulting in underestimating their economic, social and nutritional benefits and contribution to livelihoods and food security. The underestimation of the importance of inland fisheries can lead to policies and practices that further degrade resources and endanger food security". The marine capture fishery sector has, since 1974, reported on the state of major marine fish stocks. The percentage of marine fish stocks that are depleted, recovering, underexploited, moderately exploited, fully exploited and overexploited, along with their trends is extremely useful and widely cited in fishery, conservation and development literature. There is no equivalent information set for inland fisheries on which to make assessments. The Workshop identified several important differences between inland and marine capture fisheries that necessitate different approaches to the assessment of inland fisheries. A main difference is that the state of exploitation is usually the main driver determining the status in marine fisheries and is the principal indicator of management performance used by FAO for global assessment. The status of inland fisheries is also determined by rates of exploitation, but other influences that affect habitat quality and quantity can also be significant and often more important. Taking into account the special characteristics of inland fisheries, the Workshop identified ecosystem services provided by inland fisheries and some potential indicators and information that could be used for the assessment of inland capture fisheries. Indicators were identified for social and economic aspects of a fishery and for environmental and production aspects. Both aspects were judged important in the assessment of inland fisheries, and efforts were made to establish a composite indicator. The elements of a strategy to assess inland fisheries were not completely defined by the Workshop and further work was planned to determine the usefulness of the indicators and composite indicator.