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A community pond in Thailand
A community pond in Thailand
FAO/FIRI/F.Marttin

Over the last decades, employment in fishing and aquaculture worldwide has grown faster than the world's population and traditional employment in agriculture. From 1970 to 2006 the number of fishers and fish farmers more than trebled. Most of this growth took place during the 1980s and 90s and mainly in Asian countries, where 85.5% of world fishers and fish farmers dwell.

Generally, fishers are men involved in offshore and deep-sea fisheries. Most are small-scale, artisanal fishers, operating on coastal and inland fishery resources.In some regions, women fish inshore from small boats or collect shellfish and seaweed. In many artisanal fishing communities, women are also mainly responsible for activities such as making and repairing nets and post-harvest processing and marketing.

A woman dries and prepares fish. While the men mainly fish, women often do the post-harvest work
A woman dries and prepares fish. While the men mainly fish, women often do the post-harvest work
FAO/19612/G.Bizzarri

In 1970, 13 million people were engaged in fishing and aquaculture as their source of income and food, representing 1.5 % of the economically active in the agriculture sector. Overall they produced 65 million tonnes of fish, that is a world average of almost 5 tonnes per person in that year. A decade later, the number of fishers and aquaculturists increased by 26% to nearly 17 million. Total fishery production amounted to 72 million tonnes, corresponding to a slightly lower productivity of 4.3 tonnes per person.

Fishers unloading their catch
Fishers unloading their catch
FAO/18766/I.Balderi

By 2006 the number of fishers increased to 43.5 million -- nearly three-quarters in capture fisheries. The absolute growth in numbers -- largely explained by the wide expansion of the aquaculture sector - associated with a total fishery production of 143.6 million tonnes in 2006, an average productivity of 3.3 tonnes per person.

Fishers, aquaculturists and those supplying services and goods to them assure the livelihoods and well-being of a total of about 520 million people, 7.9 percent of the world population.

Fishers at see using pole and line methods
Fishers at see using pole and line methods
FAO/Andrey Urcelayeta
 
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