Assessing the State of Global Inland Fisheries

Science Center Objects

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) documents the status and trends of marine fish stocks that represent approximately 80% of global marine catch. These stocks are routinely monitored, and the FAO assessment describes the extent of exploitation against different reference points - such as underfished, sustainable fished, or overfished. Although inland fisheries, wh...

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) documents the status and trends of marine fish stocks that represent approximately 80% of global marine catch. These stocks are routinely monitored, and the FAO assessment describes the extent of exploitation against different reference points - such as underfished, sustainable fished, or overfished. Although inland fisheries, which represent 12% of total global capture fishery production, provide important economic and social services, including accessible and affordable high-quality protein to some of the world’s most vulnerable populations, FAO has no comparable system for assessing the state of inland fisheries. This is a critical knowledge gap to maintaining sustainable fisheries, which play an important role in feeding the world's growing human population.

Defining the sustainability of inland fisheries has proven challenging because the sector lacks the traditional assessment processes necessary for estimating harvest potential. Globally, assessing and monitoring inland fisheries activities is costly and time-consuming, because inland fisheries are diverse and are highly dispersed across watersheds. As a result, there is often no baseline estimate of inland fish production or harvest. Without such baseline estimates, it is difficult to determine the impact of harvest and changes in climate and land use on inland fish production. This project seeks to develop a scalable framework, based on measures of threats and adaptive capacity, to assess the current and future status of inland fisheries worldwide.