Sustainable Development Goals

Indicator 14.7.1 - Sustainable fisheries as a percentage of GDP in small island developing States, least developed countries and all countries

This indicator is intended to measure the value of sustainable fisheries. It is expressed as a percentage of the country’s Gross domestic product (GDP). Data will be produced for all countries and aggregated for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Least Developed Countries (LDCs). The indicator will measure progress towards SDG Target 14.7. 

By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism.

Sustainable Fisheries as a Percentage of GDP by region, 2011– 2019

Impact

Together with the other indicators under SDG 14, it will form a picture of marine activity giving countries intelligence on optimum levels of fishing, aquaculture expansion and fair and secure access to living aquatic resources.

Key results

Sustainable fisheries make a vital contribution to the GDP of LDCs and SIDS

Sustainable fisheries have supported the livelihoods and food security of communities for millennia, playing an essential role in local economies and food security. Today sustainable fisheries account for approximately 0.1 percent of global GDP, while in certain regions and LDCs they contribute more than 0.5 percent. The sustainable management of fish stocks remains critical for ensuring that fisheries continue to generate economic growth and support equitable development, meeting the needs of today without compromising the ability of future generations to do the same. 

Fish is now able to feed more people than ever before, providing livelihoods for millions worldwide, while alleviating hunger and malnutrition. The global appetite for fish has driven production from 20 million tons in 1950, to about 179 million tons in 2018. As fisheries and aquaculture have expanded, so too have the economic dividends from the sector and its contribution to sustained economic growth. At a global level, the value-added of this sector has increased consistently, by several percentage points year on year. This has led to a positive trend in the contribution of sustainable fisheries in regions such as sub-Saharan Africa, where it rose as a proportion of GDP from 0.25 percent in 2011 to 0.46 percent in 2017.

These economic dividends can only be sustained through prudent management of fish stocks that avoids overexploitation and depletion. The decline in fish stock within biologically sustainable levels continues, albeit at a slower rate, highlighting the need for improved regulations and effective monitoring. The declining sustainability of several stocks in the Pacific Ocean has led to a worsening overall trend for regions such as South-Eastern Asia, where sustainable fisheries fell from 0.76 percent of GDP in 2011 to 0.57 percent in 2017.

COVID-19 poses further challenges for the industry. In the short-term demand has declined in many areas, with a drop in hospitality sales being particularly significant. This, in combination with logistical challenges and disruptions to production, has negatively impacted the profitability of the sector. While many of the long-term impacts COVID-19 remain to be seen, it is essential that fisheries management is empowered to operate effectively, and in combination with effective government policy ensure that fisheries recover in a sustainable manner that maximizes benefits. 

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