Chief, Fishery Information, Data and Statistics Service (FIDI)
WORLD FISHERY PRODUCTION UP TO 1996
Global food fish supply
Global fish production has grown impressively, almost doubling average per caput food fish supply from 8 kg in 1950 to over 15 kg in 1996. The average consumption of fish protein has risen from 2.7 g per caput per day in 1960 to 4.0 g today, now representing 16% of all animal protein. In addition, fisheries have provided a major source of high quality feeds for livestock and, increasingly, for aquaculture. First sale value of capture fishery production was worth an estimated $US 85 billion in 1996. Aquaculture production was worth a further $US 47 billion (including aquatic plants).
In 1996, average food fish supply per caput for the world, excluding China, was 13.3 kg which is about the same as for the previous four years but somewhat lower than in the 1980s when it was over 14 kg (Figure 1). Fish accounted for about 14.3% of animal protein consumption and 4.6% of total protein consumption by humans in the early 1960s, and this increased to 15.4% and 5.5%, respectively, in the early 1990s. In China, however, reported fish production1 has grown very rapidly and per caput supply has almost trebled during the last ten years to about 25 kg in 1996. Despite this rapid increase, the proportion of Chinese animal protein consumption accounted for by fish has remained unchanged at about 20% since the late 1970s because livestock and poultry production has also shown a very rapid increase.
During the last 30 years, food fish supply per caput has increased in all regions except in Eastern Europe (which includes the Russian Federation), but the increase in China is far greater than in other areas (Figure 2).
Global fishery production
Although food fish supply per caput in low-income food deficit countries (LIFDCs) is currently about half the world average, it is increasing. Since 1961, it has increased by an average rate of 1.2% per year as food fish supply in those countries has grown faster (3.6%) than population (2.4%). The increase in fishery production in LIFDCs has been most rapid in recent years due to the growth in Chinese production. Since 1984, production by all LIFDCs except China has grown at an average annual rate of 3.4% (Figure 4). In contrast to the LIFDCs, fishery production by industrialized countries has declined and by other countries has remained steady during the same period.
About half of the increase in LIFDC annual production since 1984 of about 25 million t has been derived from capture fishery production and half from aquaculture, but given the lower base for aquaculture, the corresponding average annual growth rates for LIFDCs are 5% for capture fishery production and 15% for aquaculture. In China, India and Bangladesh, aquaculture accounted for at least half the growth in national production, whereas capture fisheries development was more important in Indonesia, Morocco and the Philippines.
Contributions from aquaculture and capture fisheries
Aquaculture provided 8% of global fishery production (or 11% of food fish) in 1984, and has risen to 22% (or 26% of food fish) in 1996 ( Figure 5). About 59% of aquaculture production (15.6 million t) was from inland waters and 41% (10.8 million t) from marine waters in 1996.
Capture Fishery Production
Total capture fishery production in 1996 was similar to that of the two previous years and amounted to 94.6 million t, comprising 7.5 million t from inland waters and 87.1 million t from marine fisheries, both representing highest recorded figures. China, Peru, Chile, Japan, USA, the Russian Federation and Indonesia were the top fishing countries in 1996 and together accounted for over half of the world’s capture fishery production in terms of tonnage (Figure 7). The Northwest Pacific remains by far the most productive fishing area (Figure 8). Production by species is also highly skewed, with just six species - anchoveta, Alaska pollock, Chilean jack mackerel, Atlantic herring, chub mackerel and capelin - accounting for 25% of total capture fishery production in 1995 (Figure 9), although the historical trends in catches of these species have been very different (Figure 10).
Inland capture fishery production is dominated by China (1.76 million t in 1996) and India
(650 000 t) which showed increases in recent years, mainly due to stock enhancement practices such
as stocking lakes and reservoirs. Although freshwater fish catches increased to a record
5.50 million t in 1996, catches of Nile perch and Nile tilapia appear to have levelled off at
about 350 000 t and 190 000 t respectively. Inland water catches of crustaceans have grown rapidly,
particularly in the last five years, and production in 1996 (530 000 t) similar to catches of
(560 000 t).
The rather stable marine capture fishery production total for the last three years masks some major fluctuations for individual species (Figure 10 ). Major increases in landings between 1995 and 1996 were recorded for capelin, chub mackerel and Japanese anchovy whereas major decreases between 1994 and 1995 were observed for South American pilchard and anchoveta.
Distant-water fishery production has declined sharply since (Figure 11). The decline was due mainly to the demise of the State-sponsored fleets of the former USSR. Japan had the largest distant-waters fishery production in 1996 with total catches of 668 000 t, the lowest figure since 1963. Japan’s distant water fishing has declined steadily since the early 1970s when it amounted to about 2 million t.
The world catch of all tuna and tuna-like species grew steadily from about 560 000 t in 1950 to about 4.6 million t in 1991, since when it has remained fairly steady. Skipjack provided the largest quantity with catches of about 1.5 million t in 1996, followed by yellowfin (985 000 t).
Capture fishery statistics up to 1996 were published in Vol. 82 of the Yearbook of Fishery
Statistics: Capture Production, and are available in computerized form in Fishstat Plus which
can be downloaded.
Chinese fishery production statistics for several species of mollusc in the FAO database
have recently been subject to correction (major upward revision)
for the whole time series as previously these statistics been reported in meat weight rather than live-weight units. The revision mainly affects aquaculture production.