Committee on Fisheries
Thirty-sixth Session, 8-12 July 2024
Rome, Italy

The Committee on Fisheries (COFI), a subsidiary body of the FAO Council, was established by the FAO Conference in 1965.

It is the only global inter-governmental forum where FAO Members meet to review and consider the issues and challenges related to fisheries and aquaculture.

COFI is a unique body in that it provides periodic global recommendations and policy advice to governments, regional fishery bodies, civil society organizations, and actors from the private sector and international community.

The Committee has fostered the development and adoption of several binding agreements as well as non-binding instruments that have reshaped how the sector works in the interests of resource sustainability (including biodiversity conservation).

Despite the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, global fisheries and aquaculture production is at a record-high.
Growth is being driven by aquaculture, the fastest growing food production system in the world.
The primary fisheries and aquaculture sector employs 58.5 million people, 21 percent of them are women.
When considering the entire aquatic value chain, women account for 50 percent of all those employed.
It is estimated that 600 million people depend at least partially on fisheries and aquaculture for their livelihood.
Despite the contribution they make to the sector, many small-scale producers, especially women, remain vulnerable and have insecure working conditions.
Today we fish almost 3000 species and farm around 650 species. This demonstrates the unique diversity of aquatic food systems.
Aquatic products are among the most internationally traded foods.
Excluding algae, global trade of fisheries and aquaculture products generated $151 billion in 2020, a 7% decline caused by COVID-19 disruptions.
Global consumption of aquatic animals has risen from an average 9,9 kg per capita in the 1960s to 20.2 kg in 2020.
Aquatic animal consumption has more than doubled compared to 50 years ago and is expected to grow by another 15 percent by 2030 as a result of rising incomes, growing urbanization and changes in dietary trends.
Although fishery resources continue to decline due to overfishing, pollution, poor management and ecosystem degradation, the number of landings from biologically sustainable stocks is on the rise.
Effective management is the most efficient tool for the conservation and sustainable use of fishery resources.
Future growth of the sector must be guided by resilience, sustainability and equitability to satisfy the global demand for aquatic foods, especially in food deficit regions.
We all depend on aquatic food systems for our survival: sustainable development, expansion and management of aquatic food systems must be the foundation of a Blue Transformation.
Blue Transformation is a vision to enhance the role of the sector in ending poverty, hunger and malnutrition.

Key publications

Blue Transformation – A vision for resilient, equitable and sustainable aquatic food systems