FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper No. 539

FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper No. 539

Fishing harbour planning,
construction and management


J.A. Sciortino
FAO Consultant
Harbour Design and Management
St. Paul’s Bay, Malta

Rome, 2010

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The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) concerning the legal or development status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The mention of specific companies or products of manufacturers, whether or not these have been patented, does not imply that these have been endorsed or recommended by FAO in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned.

The views expressed in this information product are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of FAO.

ISBN 978-92-5-106696-6

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© FAO 2010

Sciortino, J.A.
Fishing harbour planning, construction and management.
FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper. No. 539. Rome, FAO. 2010. 337p.


The role of the fishing port may be considered as the interface between the netting of fish and its consumption. In many cases, the fishing harbour is also the focal point of pollution, both of the surrounding environment and the fishery products it produces. Many fishing harbours are also the source of major impacts on the physical and biological coastal environment.

Although the bulk of fish landed in fishing harbours in developing countries is destined for the local markets, it is every country’s wish to improve the health hazard-free quality of its landed catch in order to increase exports of seafood products to more lucrative overseas markets. In the not-too-distant future, the growth in local consumer rights advocacy will also increase demand for health hazard-free fish.

In today’s world of increased environmental awareness, a fishing port must be planned, designed and managed in harmony with both the physical and biological coastal environments. At each stage of the process, whether it is planning, design or management, both technical and non-technical persons become involved in the process. Within government departments, whether they be technical (fisheries or public works) or non-technical (budget or finance), it is not uncommon for non-technical persons to affect the outcome of technical decisions. Fisheries Departments worldwide generally have to manage and maintain harbours and landing places using non-engineering civil servants. The following manual was produced in order to tackle fishing harbours in a holistic approach.

This manual is useful to both technical and non-technical planners, both at national government level and at departmental level. It provides non-engineering staff within such departments with enough technical knowledge to better understand certain basic design requirements, which could otherwise be interpreted as superfluous and not cost effective.

The manual is of particular use to local independent consulting engineers and architects with no ports or fisheries experience involved in the design of locally tendered projects for the various international funding agencies. To technical staff of such firms, it provides a handy reference and the means for integrating Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and European Union Directive recommendations on hazard-free seafood directly into the fishing port’s design.

The fishing industry as a whole can ill-afford the economic losses from lower prices received for contaminated fish. Recent European Union rulings have even gone one step further by banning outright all fish imports from certain countries.


Preparation of this document  (Download pdf 223 kb)
Abbreviations and acronyms
Executive summary

1. Code of conduct, conventions and importing country directives  (Download pdf 80 kb)
2. Infrastructure needs assessment  (Download pdf 386 kb)
3. Port management  (Download pdf 151 kb)
4. Environmental auditing  (Download pdf 143 kb)
5. Hydrographic surveys  (Download pdf 1.061kb)
6. Dredging  (Download pdf 1.186kb)
7. Breakwaters (Download pdf 1.416kb)
8. Quays and slipways
(Download pdf 2.184kb)
9. Construction materials
(Download pdf 1.278kb)
10. Fittings and navigational aids
(Download pdf 1.893kb)
11. Shore-based infrastructure and renewable energy
(Download pdf 1.800kb)
12. Public health, hygiene and waste disposal
(Download pdf 1.271kb)

Annexses  (Download pdf 2.923 kb)