Grupo Coordinador de Trabajo sobre Estadísticas de Pesca (CWP)


The scope of this Handbook is to:

  • Document concepts that are relevant to capture fishery and aquaculture statistics
  • Define statistical standards for specialized concepts as adopted by CWP
  • Define statistical standards for concepts that have a wider scope as adopted internationally (mainly UN statistical standards)
  • Review methodological issues that are specific to capture fishery and aquaculture statistics
  • Define minimum requirements for data collection
  • Define desirable levels of information.

The Handbook contains sections which cover (1) Introduction, (2) General concepts, (3) Capture fishery statistics, (4) Aquaculture statistics, (5) Socio-economic dimension, and (6) Tools and resources. There is also a search tool. The Handbook does not cover the processing industry of aquatic products. However, there are examples when it is difficult to distinguish between the industry resources used for fishing or aquaculture and those used for processing fish and other aquatic organisms, such as the processing of fish on-board a fishing vessel.

CWP follows internationally-agreed statistical concepts, standards, classifications and practices and develops this general approach with methodologies and guidelines that are specific to capture fishery and aquaculture statistics. The Handbook is the documentation of this work.

Many of the CWP-defined concepts, classifications, data exchange protocols and codes may be applied in a wider context and users are advised to ensure the validity of such applications.

In its efforts to develop useful and practical systems, CWP is consistently keeping statistical standards under review and welcomes feedback from national authorities on the application of these international standards at the national level.

Development of the Handbook

The eleventh session of the then Coordinating Working Party on Atlantic Fishery Statistics (now Coordinating Working Party on Fishery Statistics; CWP) proposed in 1982 that a  Handbook of Fishery Statistics (referred herein as the Handbook) be brought together. The first edition of the Handbook was published in English in 1990 with L.P.D. Gertenbach, M.A. Robinson and David G. Cross as lead editors; the Spanish and French editions of the Handbook followed in 1993 and 1994 respectively. The Handbook included contributions by the secretariats of the CWP Member Agencies (refer background) and covered statistics on capture fisheries. The Handbook was converted to a live document on the CWP website in 1996. Following the establishment of CWP-aquaculture in 2007 (CWP-22) the Handbook chapter on aquaculture statistics was further developed. Further revisions in 2013, 2017 and 2020 were led by the CWP Secretariat and included in particular reviews of the gear classifications plus new sections on ecosystem approach, green accounting and socio-economic statistics. Within the CWP framework, further developments are envisaged including standards for reference harmonization (refer CWP Task Group of Reference Harmonization), fishing activity information and metadata standards for data exchange (e.g. OGC and ISO). These developments share the objective to harmonize common dataset structures and metadata to facilitate data reporting and exchange among data agencies at national, regional and global levels. The developments also align the Handbook with the related frameworks developed for the Fisheries and Resources Monitoring System (FIRMS) and Global Record of Stocks and Fisheries (GRSF).