FAO is the only international body systematically collecting data on global fisheries, which places it in a unique position to identify trends in fisheries and aquaculture. FAO collects, analyses, interprets and disseminates statistics relating to various aspects of world fisheries such as fishery production from capture fisheries and aquaculture, trade of fishery commodities, preserved and prepared production of fishery commodities, apparent fish consumption, fishery fleets and employment in fisheries. These statistics are stored in databases and distributed through print publications and electronic media (CD-ROM and Internet).
Fisheries statistics are usually obtained from national reporting offices and, wherever possible, verified from other sources. Estimates are produced when data are lacking or are considered unreliable.
The FAO databases on world capture fishery production, world aquaculture production and on fishery commodities production and trade are used to prepare the FAO Yearbook of Fishery and Aquaculture Statistics. For world capture production, information includes data on nominal catches for recent years by country, species and major fishing areas; for aquaculture a set of tables of annual production statistics in quantity and value by country, species and environment; and for commodities, data by quantity and value by countries, species\product form as well as statistics on apparent consumption of fish and fishery products, the value and disposition of world fishery production and the direction of trade for selected countries.
Food balance sheets for fish and fishery products provide statistics of total and per capita fish supply in live weight and contribution of fish to animal protein supply by country since 1961. As well, data on employment in fisheries and on the world's fishing fleet are also available.