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This document provides results of initial analyses of the revised and extended time series of world fishery production. The time series of computerised landing statistics, extended to include the years 1950-1969, were first presented in a Supplement to the FAO Yearbook on Fishery Statistics 19931. This paper was summarised in a poster presented at the Second World Fisheries Congress (Brisbane, Australia, 28 July - 2 August 1996).

1 World Fishery Production 1950-1993. Supplement to the FAO Yearbook of Fishery Statistics 1993. Vol. 76. Catches and Landings. Rome, FAO. 1995. 44p.
Valuable advice and comments on some of the analyses undertaken were received from Dr Ian H. Pike (IFOMA), Dr Chris Francis (NIWA, New Zealand), as well as several staff of the FAO Fisheries Department, including Adele Crispoldi, John Caddy, Jorge Csirke, Maurizio Perotti and Albert Tacon. Sara Montanaro provided invaluable assistance by preparing the graphics.


FAO Fisheries Department
FAO Regional Fishery Officers
Directors of Fisheries
Regional and International Fisheries Organizations

Grainger, R.J.R.; Garcia, S.M.
Chronicles of marine fishery landings (1950-1994): Trend analysis and fisheries potential.
FAO Fisheries Technical Paper. No. 359. Rome, FAO. 1996. 51p.


World fishery landing statistics as disseminated by FAO have been completely revised for the period 1950-1969 and time series in the database have been extended backwards by 20 years so that the period covered is now 1950-1994. Through a preliminary analysis of trends, globally and by oceans, we attempt to demonstrate that these extended time series can be very useful in interpreting developments in the world’s fisheries and so help in assessing the present situation as well as for planning and policy-making for the future. Grouping the 200 most important resources into a few categories according to the shapes of their landings trends reveals a variety of patterns which seem to form different segments of a generalised fishery development model comprising undeveloped, developing, mature and senescent phases. The analysis demonstrates strikingly the succession of the passage of the majority of the world’s major resources through these phases, indicating the current general saturation of fisheries development and increasing overexploitation.

Fisheries potential was estimated by predicting at which point the relative rate of increase of landings is zero, using the same generalised fishery development model applied to total fishery production data for marine fish and shellfish. The analysis was applied using data aggregated to three different levels, namely (1) a total for all oceans, (2) totals for each ocean, and (3) individual FAO major fishing areas. Estimated fishery potential for the world’s oceans increases as the level of aggregation of the data decreases, and the results indicate that marine fishery potential may be higher than has been assumed up to now. The areas and resources which might provide potential increases in production are identified.

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