Agriculture and fisheries



There is growing public concern at the impact of fisheries policies on the sustainability of exploiting wild and farmed aquatic natural resources. Yet policy implementation gaps persist, both at the national and international level.


Many commercial fisheries are characterised by too many fishers (and vessels) chasing too few fish. Central to addressing the situation of overfished and depleted stocks is the establishment of responsible fisheries policies and management systems, within a broader marine ecosystem context.


Developing effective fisheries management systems, along with best practices for sustainable aquaculture production, are therefore receiving greater attention by governments and an industry that directly depends on the resource for a living. In recognition of the important potential in both developed and developing countries to supply protein rich food, OECD analysis is strongly focused on the political economy of reform in these areas.

The OECD also examines issues such as fisheries subsidies that encourage increased fishing capacity, along with illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing activity, all of which add further stress to depleted stocks and the marine environment more broadly.


Climate change is having a particularly significant impact on the future of the fisheries sector; this is a particular concern for straddling and migratory fish stocks that due to changes in ocean temperature shift geographical zonal attachments or their “home”. There has never been a greater need for coherent national and international policies that addresses sustainable management of marine ecosystems and fisheries resources.


Fisheries pose significant economic and governance challenges and the OECD guides national policy makers in three principal ways by:

  • Identifying sustainable fisheries policies and management practices that create incentives to fish at levels commensurate with the capacity of available natural fisheries resources;
  • Clarifying where market based approaches and economic instruments can be of use for the fishing sector;
  • Identifying the characteristics of effective policies, to ensure sustainable resource use.


Preserving stocks, keeping jobs

How can we build a sustainable fishing industry that maintains healthy fish stocks and valued employment?

 OECD work on fisheries



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