Fishery Resources

Fisheries use natural renewable resources and other resources as raw material on which the sector depends. Renewable resources include aquatic species, land and water. Other resources are artificially generated, such as hatchery-produced seeds, feeds and fertilizers. Human and financial resources for the sector are obviously important but not addressed in this section. Fisheries resources are finite and the sector needs to compete for them with other types of uses.

Capture fisheries resources are usually considered, used and managed on a stock-by-stock basis. They are impacted by fisheries as well as other polluting and degrading economic activities. The state of marine resources have raised concern as about 28% of them are more or less seriously overfished (based on 1999 data). The state of inland capture fisheries is poorly known but is likely to deserve equal concern in most regions and reflect a much greated environmental impact.

Aquaculture resources comprise a wide variety of animal and plant species such as finfish; shrimp, prawns and crabs; clams, oysters and mussels as well as seaweeds and other aquatic plants for both use and production. The most harvested species in recent years have been the Pacific Oyster (Crassostrea gigas) and the Silver Carp (Hypophthalimichthys molitrix).

While it is usually advisable to use local species, introduced (or alien) species are responsible for approximately 17 percent of the world's finfish production. The resulting impacts of introduced species are social, environmental and economic in nature. Genetic resources are the foundation on which species, stocks and genetically-improved strains are based.

The culture of several important species still relies on the collection of brood stock or seed from natural populations (e.g. for shrimp culture). Aquafeed resources production is one of the fastest expanding agricultural industries in the world, with growth rates in excess of 30 percent per year. The general state of world aquaculture reveals growth at ten percent per year since the late 1980s compared to 3% for livestock for the same period and a quarter of the fish eaten in the world now comes from aquaculture which produced close to 40 million tonnes in 1998.