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Food Loss and Waste in Fish Value Chains
©FAO/Omar Penarubia

Capture Fisheries

Harvesting is the process of gathering and removing fish from the place in which it has grown, and refers therefore to fishing and catching wild fish and shellfish. The harvesting of aquatic resources uses a large variety of technologies - from artisanal to highly-industrial - encompassing vessels and equipment as well as fishing gears and methods.

The key causes of food loss and waste (FLW) during harvesting are:

  • Fisheries management measures that encourage discarding of fish at sea
  • Less selective fishing gear that results in capture, retention, and subsequent discarding of immature fish and unwanted species
  • Abandoned, lost, or otherwise discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) which continues to catch fish (causing unintentional mortality), resulting in “ghost fishing”
  • Delays in removing fish from the fishing gear leading to quality deterioration of catch due to spoilage and physical damage 
  • Consumption and damage of fish by predators prior to hauling

Loss Scenarios

Discards are the unwanted catch and bycatch of fish that are returned to the sea, either dead or alive. Discarding of fish can be caused by multiple reasons.

Using freezer vessels which allow quick freezing and cold storage create a means of preserving fish that will extend the storage life without substantially altering the nature of the raw material.

On-board Handling in Large Scale Fisheries

On board handling refers to the conditions that fish are subjected to after harvest and through the point of landing, when the fish is transferred on-shore.

On-board Handling in Small Scale Fisheries

On board handling refers to the conditions that fish are subjected to after harvest and through the point of landing, when the fish is transferred on-shore.