The idea of publishing The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture was conceived in 1995 in recognition of the growing demand for reliable information on the subject. Since there was no periodical providing a global and comprehensive view of the sector and covering policy issues, the FAO Fisheries Department decided to publish such a report every two years. The State of the World Fisheries and Aquaculture 1996 serves as a benchmark document, as it provides an initial overview of world fisheries and aquaculture and places the sector in a longer-term perspective by examining trends from 1950 to the present, while also looking ahead to the year 2010.
While providing a similar overview, this issue of The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture examines developments in the sector from the perspective of sustainability in fisheries and aquaculture. The report aims to shed light on the need for and effects of good governance in fisheries and aquaculture, while also highlighting two closely related issues: the establishment of an enabling environment for aquaculture activity and the integration of fisheries into coastal zone management.
With regard to capture fisheries, matching fishing capacity with available resources and managing by-catch and discards are the main points considered. Several other questions are posed on a more general level. Are fisheries and aquaculture any closer to being sustainably managed as a result of current changes in approach? Do these changes increase the contribution of fisheries and aquaculture to sustainable development? Are international initiatives to support this process helping to head the sector in the right direction?
The need to promote implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, especially in relation to the allocation of fishing rights, is made evident throughout The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 1998, which discusses existing practices in the management of fishing capacity as well as new approaches being adopted by some countries, such as individual transferable quotas (ITQs). A review of patterns in the employment of fishers and an analysis of trends in the world fishing fleet add to the report's value.
Updated information on past and present trends and expected future developments in fisheries resources, production, utilization and trade is complemented by discussions of major issues facing fishers and aquaculturists and a report on the most recent actions taken in the area of fisheries.
The principal purpose of The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture is to inform policy-makers, participants in fisheries and civil society in an accurate and objective manner. Furthermore, by generating awareness of the global interaction inherent to the sector, it seeks to encourage managers and other decision-makers to learn from the experience of others. By doing so, we trust our report will contribute to national, regional and global efforts in ensuring responsible practices and sustainable development in fisheries and aquaculture.
The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 1998 was prepared by FAO Fisheries Department staff, led by a team comprising U. Wijkstr÷m, A. Gumy and R. Grainger. General direction was provided by the department's management staff, including: J. Caddy; I. Feidi; S. Garcia; M. Hayashi; J. Jia; B. Satia; J. Valdemarsen; G. Valdimarsson.
Texts for the first section of Part 1, The state of fishery resources: trends in production, utilization and trade, were provided by J. Csirke (resources), R. Grainger (production, capture fisheries), K. Rana (production, aquaculture) and H. Josupeit (trade).
Contributors to Part 2, Selected issues facing fishers and aquaculturists, included D. Doulman (governance), R. Willmann (integrating fisheries), D. Greboval (fishing capacity), G. Everett (by-catch and discards) and Z. Shehadeh (sustainable aquaculture), whose original texts were coordinated by consultant M. Sanders.
In Part 3, Inland fisheries resources: their status and use was written by J. Kapetsky. Texts for the section Fishers and fishing fleets were contributed by A. Crispoldi, R. Grainger and A. Smith.
Part 4, Outlook: expected trends in supply and demand, was written by U. Wijkstr÷m. Part 5, Fishery activities of country groupings, was written by A. Gumy.
Several staff as well as non-FAO authors have contributed texts on specific issues, and they are cited in the relevant boxes throughout the publication. Data for the original version of graphics were provided by S. Montanaro.
Most staff members of the FAO Fisheries Department have contributed in one way or another to this year's report. Many, including staff in FAO Regional and Subregional Offices, provided valuable input in the form of critical text reviews.
The Editorial Group of the FAO Information Division was responsible for the editing, design and desktop publishing of The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 1998.