Harvesting of aquatic resources and production is done either in the wild (capture fisheries) or in controlled environments (aquaculture). Both use a large variety of technologies - from artisanal to highly-industrial - encompassing vessels and equipment as well as fishing gears and methods.
For both capture fisheries and aquaculture, the technological development and widespread use of synthetic fibers, hydraulic equipment for gear and fish handling, electronics for fish finding, satellite-based technology for navigation and communications, onboard conservation and increased use of outboard engines have all contributed to the major expansion of fisheries and aquaculture in recent decades - particularly in small-scale fisheries. Technical advances have generally led to more efficient and economical fishing operations, reduction of the physical labour required per unit of output and improved access to resources.
Where management has been ineffective, the greater efficiency of fishing methods and aquaculture production has sometimes led to overfishing and environmental degradation. This points to the need to develop more effective fisheries management frameworks, together with safer and more environmentally-friendly methods of production, for example, in developing selective fishing gear and in designing aquaculture systems that reduce their impact on external environments.