Fisheries and aquaculture provide food for hundreds of millions of people around the world every day, and employ over 10% of the world’s population, many of them women. Led by the rapid development of aquaculture, especially in Asia, global seafood consumption has grown at twice the rate of the population since the early 1960s.
However, marine and aquatic ecosystems are under stress – from climate change, overfishing and unsustainable fishing and aquaculture practices in some areas, as well as pollution from various other human activities, which lead to ocean acidification and declining biodiversity.
What is more, illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing continues in many parts of the world, adding excessive pressure on fish stocks, harming law-abiding fishers through unfair competition and thereby reducing their profitability, in addition to limiting employment opportunities throughout the value chain.
In countries participating in the OECD Review of Fisheries 2020, about a quarter of global fish stocks with known status are in a biologically unsustainable situation, and of the two thirds that are healthy, only half are known to be in a situation that allows producing maximum sustainable catch volume or value.
Global fisheries and aquaculture could be both more productive and more sustainable if they were optimally managed.
Helping governments sustainably manage fisheries, aquaculture, and protect the environment
Governments are increasingly aware of the shortcomings of fisheries and aquaculture management frameworks, and that smarter regulations and new technologies are needed if sustainability and productivity are to be improved. However, achieving reform in fisheries and aquaculture policy can be difficult. A broad range of interests are typically at stake and it is often difficult and expensive to collect the data on marine resources and ecosystems needed for evidence-based policy-making.
The OECD helps governments establish good policies to achieve environmentally sound fisheries and sustainable aquaculture to support resilient communities, provide quality food and secure livelihoods. The work of the Fisheries Committee contributes to a more robust evidence base for policy making, and promotes a dialogue among and between authorities in charge of fisheries and aquaculture policies in OECD member countries and beyond.
Based on the latest available information reported by OECD countries and partner economies, the OECD Review of Fisheries 2020 suggests priorities for action at the national level and for the international community. It offers a practical policy perspective on how to accelerate progress on the fisheries targets of Sustainable Development Goal 14, which were set with a 2020 deadline and which remain unattained at a global level.
The Review covers about half of global fisheries, tracking and analysing developments in the main areas of government interventions for fisheries of OECD countries and important non-member fishing economies. In particular, it helps support a dialogue on government support to the fisheries sector using the OECD Fisheries Support Estimate (FSE) database, which measures fisheries support policies in a consistent and transparent way across all OECD member countries and other important fishing economies. The FSE and associated modelling work allow investigation of the impacts of fisheries support policies on resources and ecosystems as well as on jobs, incomes and value creation with a view to adjust policies to better deliver the goals they were designed to meet.
The Review also presents and analyses information on the health of fish stocks, and how countries and economies manage fish resources. It examines the policies applied in the fight against IUU fishing and evaluates the extent to which internationally-recognised best practices have been adopted. It also investigates successful pathways to reform through improved governance, stakeholder consultation, and mobilization of scientific evidence and analysis.