Types of fisheries

Capture fisheries are extremely diversified, comprising a large number of types of fisheries that are categorized by different levels of classification. On a broad level, capture fisheries can be classified as industrial, small-scale/artisanal and recreational. A more specific level includes reference to the fishing area, gear and the main target species, such as the North Sea herring purse seine fishery, Gulf of Mexico shrimp trawl fishery, southern ocean Patagonian toothfish longline fishery. While capture fisheries encompass thousands of fisheries on a global scale, they are often categorized by the capture species, the fishing gear used and the level at which a fishery is managed nationally and/or regionally.

The following brief descriptions provide an overview of capture fishery types.

Industrial fisheries

Capital-intensive fisheries using relatively large vessels with a high degree of mechanization and that normally have advanced fish finding and navigational equipment. Such fisheries have a high production capacity and the catch per unit effort is normally relatively high. In some areas of the world, the term "industrial fisheries" is synonymous with fisheries for species that are used for reduction to fishmeal and fish oil (e.g. the trawl fishery for sandeel in the North Sea or the Peruvian ourse-seine fishery for anchoveta).

Small-scale fisheries

Labour-intensive fisheries using relatively small crafts (if any) and little capital and equipment per person-on-board. Most often family-owned. May be commercial or for subsistence (see below). Usually low fuel consumption. Often equated with artisanal fisheries.

Artisanal fisheries

Typically traditional fisheries involving fishing households (as opposed to commercial companies), using relatively small amount of capital, relatively small fishing vessels, making short fishing trips, close to shore, mainly for local consumption. In practice, definition varies between countries, e.g. from hand-collection on the beach or a one-person canoe in poor developing countries, to more than 20 m. trawlers, seiners, or long-liners over 20m in developed countries. Artisanal fisheries can be subsistence or commercial fisheries, providing for local consumption or export. Sometimes referred to as small-scale fisheries In general, though by no means always, using relatively low level technology. Artisanal and industrial fisheries frequently target the same resources that may give rise to conflict.

Recreational (sport) fisheries

Harvesting fish for personal use, leisure, and challenge (e.g. as opposed to profit or research). Recreational fishing does not include sale, barter or trade of all or part of the catch.

Commercial fisheries

Fisheries undertaken for profit and with the objective to sell the harvest on the market, through auction halls, direct contracts, or other forms of trade.

Subsistence fisheries

A fishery where the fish caught are shared and consumed directly by the families and kin of the fishers rather than being bought by intermediaries and sold at the next larger market. Pure subsistence fisheries are rare as part of the products are often sold or exchanged for other goods or services

Traditional fisheries

Fisheries established long ago, usually by specific communities that have developed customary patterns of rules and operations. Traditional fisheries reflect cultural traits and attitudes and may be strongly influenced by religious practices or social customs. Knowledge is transmitted between generations by word of mouth. They are usually small-scale and/or artisanal.

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