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Fisheries and Aquaculture

The livelihoods of about 200 million people rely on fisheries, aquaculture and associated activities and over 20% of the world’s 38 million full-time fishers earn less than US$1 per day. Many fishers live in the world's poorest countries where their communities are often marginalized and landless. As fishing is often the livelihood of last resort and fish often the only source of animal protein for the poor, the state of the world's fisheries can be critical in the fight against poverty in many parts the developing world. The export value of world trade in fish (US$63 billion in 2003) is more than the combined value of net exports of rice, coffee, sugar and tea. Half of global fish trade comes from developing countries, while global consumption increased by 21% between 1992 and 2002.

Thengamara Mohila Sabuj Sangha fisheries project
Credit: Shehzad Noorani

Approximately 25% of the world's marine fish stocks are considered overexploited and an additional 50% are fully exploited. The depleted state of wild fish stocks is due to overfishing and increasing degradation of coastal, marine and freshwater ecosystems and habitats, as growing coastal populations exert increasing pressures on natural resources. Aquaculture production has grown at almost 9% per year since 1970 and aquaculture now provides 40% of the world’s fish supply for direct human consumption, and brings new challenges to sustainable use of aquatic resources and environments.

Responding to the call of the WSSD to address the critical state of the world’s fisheries, and on the basis of a review of the challenges facing the sector, Saving Fish and Fishers (PDF), the World Bank has established a new partnership, the Global Program on Fisheries (PROFISH)with an emphasis on sustainable fisheries management and improved governance. The PROFISH partnership will work with client countries to make concrete progress towards achieving the fisheries goals identified in the WSSD Plan of Implementation.

Through the Global Environment Facility, and partnership initiatives and country-level projects, the World Bank has a portfolio of over US$1.2 billion in fisheries, aquaculture, coastal and aquatic environmental management and related projects serving coastal and fishing communities. Turning the Tide (Part 1/ Part 2) (PDFs 1,137 KB/1,181 KB) illustrates key issues in fisheries and the role of the World Bank.

Visit the Projects section of this site and the links below for information on relevant projects.


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