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Fisheries

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Fisheries


Generally, a fishery is an entity engaged in raising or harvesting fish which is determined by some authority to be a fishery.[1] According to the FAO, a fishery is typically defined in terms of the "people involved, species or type of fish, area of water or seabed, method of fishing, class of boats, purpose of the activities or a combination of the foregoing features".[2] The definition often includes a combination of fish and fishers in a region, the latter fishing for similar species with similar gear types.[3]

A fishery may involve the capture of wild fish or raising fish through fish farming or aquaculture.[2][4] Directly or indirectly, the livelihood of over 500 million people in developing countries depends on fisheries and aquaculture. Overfishing, including the taking of fish beyond sustainable levels, is reducing fish stocks and employment in many world regions.[5][6]If fisheries are poorly managed, environmental impacts go unchecked. Unsustainable fishing practices put seafood resources and fishing livelihoods at risk – the United Nations FAO estimates that 11 of the world's 15 major fishing areas, and 69 percent of the world's major fish species, are in decline and in need of urgent management.[7]

The term "fish"

  • In fisheries – the term fish is used as a collective term, and includes mollusks, crustaceans and any aquatic animal which is harvested.[2]
  • True fish – The strict biological definition of a fish, above, is sometimes called a true fish. True fish are also referred to as finfish or fin fish to distinguish them from other aquatic life harvested in fisheries or aquaculture.

Types

Fisheries are harvested for their value (commercial, recreational or subsistence). They can be saltwater or freshwater, wild or farmed. Examples are the salmon fishery of Alaska, the cod fishery off the Lofoten islands, the tuna fishery of the Eastern Pacific, or the shrimp farm fisheries in China. Capture fisheries can be broadly classified as industrial scale, small-scale or artisanal, and recreational.

Close to 90% of the world’s fishery catches come from oceans and seas, as opposed to inland waters. These marine catches have remained relatively stable since the mid-nineties (between 80 and 86 million tonnes).[10] Most marine fisheries are based near the coast. This is not only because harvesting from relatively shallow waters is easier than in the open ocean, but also because fish are much more abundant near the coastal shelf, due to the abundance of nutrients available there from coastal upwelling and land runoff. However, productive wild fisheries also exist in open oceans, particularly by seamounts, and inland in lakes and rivers.

Most fisheries are wild fisheries, but farmed fisheries are increasing. Farming can occur in coastal areas, such as with oyster farms,[11] but more typically occur inland, in lakes, ponds, tanks and other enclosures.

There are species fisheries worldwide for finfish, mollusks, crustaceans and echinoderms, and by extension, aquatic plants such as kelp. However, a very small number of species support the majority of the world’s fisheries. Some of these species are herring, cod, anchovy, tuna, flounder, mullet, squid, shrimp, salmon, crab, lobster, oyster and scallops. All except these last four provided a worldwide catch of well over a million tonnes in 1999, with herring and sardines together providing a harvest of over 22 million metric tons in 1999. Many other species are harvested in smaller numbers.

See also

Notes

References

  • Cullis-Suzuki S and "Failing the high seas: A global evaluation of regional fisheries management organizations" Marine Policy, 34(5) pp 1036–1042.
  • Types of fisheries
  • Hart PJB and Reynolds JD (2002) ISBN 978-0-632-05412-1

External links

  • DMOZ
  • SOFIA report
  • The Fishery Resources Monitoring System (FIRMS)
  • The International Institute of Fisheries Economics and Trade (IIFET)
  • U.S. National Academy of Sciences
  • National Reports on Fish Stocks and Habitats in the South China Sea
  • World Fisheries from Sea to Table slideshow on the Smithsonian Ocean Portal
  • Fisheries Wiki A detailed online encyclopaedia providing current and quantitative information on marine fisheries worldwide.
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