Fisheries management, policy and
implementation: a review
By Prof. Hasan Khan
term fishery is used to describe the waters where fishing
takes place or the species of fish being harvested.
Fisheries include familiar
finned fish species, like cod and flounder; mollusks,
including oysters and squid; and crustaceans, such as shrimp
fisheries include echinoderms, like sea urchins; some
amphibians, including frogs; and coelenterates, such as
Even the harvest of whales
is usually considered a fishery. Fisheries are an important
source of food, income, jobs, and recreation for people
around the world.
This is particularly true in
island nations, such as Japan and Iceland, where seafood is
eaten as a major source of protein. The average person in
Iceland eats nearly 90 kg (200 lb) of fish per year, more
than six times the worldwide average.
Worldwide harvest of fishery products has steadily increased
to meet the growing global demand for seafood. In 1995, an
estimated 113 million metric tonnes of fishery products were
harvested. China was responsible for the largest harvest,
followed by Peru, Chile, Japan, the United States, India and
The increasing demand for
seafood has led to a complex, global system of trade in
fisheries products. Japan is the largest importer, followed
by the United States, France, Spain and Germany.
Thailand is the largest
exporter, followed by the United States, Norway, China and
Denmark. The United States imports large quantities of
high-valued fishery products, such as shrimp and lobster.
Today scientists consider many fisheries to be fished beyond
the capacity of the resource. Current harvest rates are not
thought to be sustainable that is, able to be maintained
year after year without depletion of the fish stock.
Experts believe that
increases in world fish supply will require better
management of the resources as well as the increased use of
fish farming or aquaculture.
The range of fisheries is immense over 4000 aquatic species
are harvested worldwide. The shrimp fishery alone includes
well over 40 species. Fisheries are located almost anywhere
there is water.
Over 80 per cent of the
world's fisheries are located in the coastal and ocean
environment, and the remaining 20 per cent are found in
inland freshwater fisheries. Currently, over half of the
world's fishery harvests come from the Pacific Ocean; 25 per
cent are from the North Pacific alone.
The largest fisheries group is made up of small, pelagic
(open ocean) fishes such as herring, sardine, anchovy, and
Over 20 per cent of the
world's fishery harvest comes from this group, and Chile and
Peru are the leading harvesters. These fish have relatively
low commercial value and are often used to make feed for
poultry, hogs, and other animals.
category of harvested fishes, accounting for nearly
10 per cent of the world's fishery harvest, is the
groundfish, or demersal fish, that live near the
ocean floor. These generally white-fleshed fishes
include cod, haddock, pollock and hake. Cod and
haddock tend to be relatively high in commercial
Fish such as tuna, swordfish, marlin, and mahimahi
make up the large pelagic fish category and account
for nearly 5 per cent of world harvest. Tuna is
consumed fresh in great quantities in Japan and sold
canned around the world. Canned tuna is the fish
eaten most often in the United States.
Salmon belong to the anadromous group, meaning they
lay their eggs in freshwater but usually spend their
adult lives in the ocean. Although the salmon
fishery only accounts for about 2 per cent of world
fishery harvests, it is one of the most important
wild fisheries in the United States (especially in
Alaska), Canada, Japan and Russia.
Salmon are also cultured in
farms in many countries including Norway, Chile, Canada,
Scotland, Australia, and the United States. Some species of
salmon are also highly prized sport fish.
Several freshwater fisheries are also important. Carp and
related freshwater fish are consumed mostly in Asia and
parts of Europe. Carp are generally raised in ponds and
account for nearly 10 per cent of all fish harvested
worldwide. In the Southern United States, the farm-raised
catfish industry grew rapidly from a cottage industry in the
1970s to the largest aquaculture industry in the Unites
States in the 1990s.
The tilapia, a freshwater or
brackish water (mixture of fresh and saltwater) fish native
to Africa, is now being raised globally to add protein to
the diets of people in less-developed areas especially in
Asia and South America.
It is also being sold to meet
the growing demand for seafood in countries such as the
United States. Tilapia harvests make up a relatively small
percentage of the global fish supply, but production is
Shrimp are harvested worldwide. Most large and medium-sized
shrimp come from the tropical waters of countries like
Thailand, India, Ecuador, and Mexico. Many small shrimp are
harvested from the cold waters of Iceland, Greenland, and
Today, cultured or farmed
marine shrimp play an important role in supplying the
world's shrimp demand. Total wild and farmed shrimp harvest
accounts for less than 5 per cent of the total world
fisheries harvest. Even so, shrimp has a very high
commercial value and is the most important species group in
world fisheries trade.
Fisheries in Pakistan
Fishery plays an important role in the national economy. It
provides employment to about 300,000 fishermen directly. In
addition, another 400,000 people are employed in ancillary
industries. It is also a major source of export earning. In
1998-99, fish and fishery products valued at US $120 million
were exported from Pakistan.
Federal government is
responsible for fishery of exclusive economic zone of
Pakistan. In addition, it is also responsible for making
policies, inter-provincial co-ordination, planning,
research, quality control, training, exploratory fishing,
stock assessment, fisheries management, fleet improvement,
data collection and export etc.
Pakistan is endowed with rich fishery potential. It is
located in the northern part of the Arabian sea and has a
coastline of about 1,120 km with a broad continental shelf
and its exclusive economic zone extends up to 200 nautical
miles from the coast.
There are about 16,000
fishing boats in coastal area of Pakistan which operate in
shallow coastal waters as well as in offshore areas. There
fishing boats undertake fishing trips lasting for few hours
to about 25 days depending upon type of fishing. Total
production from inland and marine waters is approximately
0.60 million tonnes.
Fisheries are difficult to manage effectively because they
exist in a complex ecosystem and are often considered a
common property resource (owned by all citizens of a
Aquaculture , or fish farming, in which aquatic organism are
raised under controlled conditions in ponds, tanks, or
floating net pens, is becoming a part of fisheries
management. Aquaculture techniques, which help increase
stock populations and control predators, are used in the
oyster, clam, and mussel fisheries.
Fish farming may help reduce
harvest pressure on the remaining wild stock. In Japan, the
chum salmon fishery and several other fisheries depend upon
hatcheries where fish reproduction and survival is enhanced
to provide the young fish. In fact, aquaculture production
is becoming an essential part of the world's fish supply.
They share of the total world
harvest produced through aquaculture has steadily increased
over the past two decades and now accounts for nearly 20 per
cent of world harvest.
One of the greatest challenges in fisheries management is
the control of bycatch, the unintentional killing of species
not intended to be caught, such as low value fish, immature
fish, or even marine mammals. Fisheries are influenced by
more than just fishing activity.
Fishery managers must also
manage activities on land, such as agriculture, irrigation,
pollution and development, that may impact critical
fisheries habitat. Finally, fisheries exist in an
environment that naturally fluctuates.
Events such as changes in
ocean currents and temperatures can dramatically influence
the size and health of fish stocks, making them more of a
challenge to mange effectively.
It is becoming increasingly
clear that the effective fisheries management, at both the
policy making and the implementation stages, depends
critically on agreement and participation that utilise
objective and reliable reporting of fishery status and
Courtesy: The News