The FAO is the only international body systematically collecting data on global fisheries, which places it in a unique position to identify trends in the fisheries sector. FAO collects, analyses, interprets and disseminates statistics relating to various aspects of world fisheries such as fishery production from capture fisheries and aquaculture, trade of fishery commodities, preserved and prepared production of fishery commodities, apparent fish consumption, fishery fleets and employment in fisheries. These statistics are stored in databases and disseminated through publications (statistical yearbooks, bulletins and circulars) and electronic media (CD-ROM and Internet).
Fisheries statistics are usually obtained from national reporting offices and, wherever possible, verified from other sources. Estimates are produced when data are lacking or are considered unreliable.
The FAO database on world capture fishery production and that on world aquaculture production are used in the preparation of two FAO Yearbooks of Fishery Statistics. The volume on Capture Production presents data on nominal catches, for recent years by country, species and major fishing areas. That on Aquaculture Production presents a set of tables of annual production statistics in quantity and value by country, species and environment.
The FAO database on fishery commodities production and trade is used for preparing the Yearbook of Fishery Statistics: Commodities, which reports data by quantity and value by countries, species\product form. This yearbook also gives statistics on apparent consumption of fish and fishery products, the value and disposition of world fishery production and the direction of trade for selected countries.
The food balance sheets for fish and fishery products are published in the circular C821 (and revisions) which provides statistics of total and per capita fish supply in live weight and contribution of fish to animal protein supply by country since 1961.
Data on employment in fisheries and aquaculture are disseminated through a Fisheries Circular (C929 and revisions). The FAOs database on the world's fishing fleet is made available as an FAO Bulletin of Fishery Statistics.