Skip to main content

Supporting policy with scientific evidence

We mobilise people and resources to create, curate, make sense of and use knowledge to inform policymaking across Europe.

Dataset | 25 January 2017

Fishery Global Capture Production


Data on volume of fish catches landed by country or territory of capture, by species or a higher taxonomic level, by FAO major fishing areas, and year for all commercial, industrial, recreational and subsistence purpose. Quantity is expressed in tonnes and number of animals.

At present the data base shows annual figures for the period from 1950 organized by:

  • about 240 countries, territories or land areas;
  • by 26 major fishing areas;
  • by approximately 1600 species items (freshwater, brackishwater and marine species of fish, crustaceans, molluscs and other aquatic animals and plants) classified into the FAO International Standard Statistical Classification of Aquatic Animals and Plants (ISSCAAP)

Data Periodicity: Data are reported yearly and the period used is the calendar year (1 January - 31 December.) Some countries or areas use a split-year in their reporting (e.g. year ending 30 June.)

The "nominal catches" concept refers to the landings converted to a live weight basis; the closely related concept "landings" refers to the quantities on a landed weight basis. In many fisheries the landed quantities are identical to the quantities caught, but there are many instances where the catches on board fishing vessels or factory ships are gutted, eviscerated, filleted, salted, dried, etc., or reduced to meals, oil, etc. The data on the landings of such species and products require conversion by accurate yield rates (conversion factors) to establish the live weight equivalents (nominal catches) at the time of their capture. The database does not include quantities discarded after catching.

Volume is measured in tonnes for all items except aquatic mammals, alligators and crocodiles, which are measured by number of animals. Weights are of the whole animal (live weight.)

Data sources:

  • Information on capture production is collected annually from relevant national offices concerned with fishery statistics, by means of a system of standardized forms (see below), which list for each country the relative species items and fishing areas breakdown.
  • In the case of some "aquatic products", data are also obtained from trade associations or other specialized international organizations to which data are also submitted. In this way the statistics are reviewed by subject matter specialists.
  • Data concerning the nominal catch of certain major groups are generally reviewed in collaboration with the regional agency concerned. For example, for ISSCAAP group 36 (Tunas, bonitos and billfishes) data provided by the national correspondents are often replaced by the "best scientific estimates" produced by regional bodies collecting tuna catch statistics (i.e. ICCAT, IOTC, SPC and IATTC.).