Frequently Asked Questions

What is a fishery?
A fishery is a group of individuals that are engaged in raising or harvesting fish. The group can be defined by the people involved, species or type of fish, area of water, method of fishing, class of boats, purpose of the activities, or a combination of all of the above. (For more information see Fishery Basics.)

What are the different scales of commercial fishing?
The size of a fishing operation depends largely upon the target species being sought, the location of the target species in the ocean, and the size of the vessel. For example, according to the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) boats that fish tuna in the high seas are on average 70-80 meters (210-240 feet) in length. Whereas boats that troll for salmon and albacore tuna along the central California coast range in size from 5-20 meters (15-60 feet). (For more information see Fishing Vessel Types)

Where are fish caught?
Commercial fisheries occur in all oceans and seas throughout the globe. Additionally, there are many commercial fisheries in fresh water rivers and lakes. Recreational fishing is often focused closer to shore or in fresh water habitats. (For more information see Where do we fish?)

How much fish are consumed annually?
The United Nations FAO calculated the world average annual per capita consumption of seafood to be 16.4 kg (36.2 lbs) in 2005. The world population in 2005 was between 6.4 and 6.5 billion people, meaning that roughly 105.5 billion kg (234 billion lbs) of seafood were consumed in 2005. (For more information see Seafood Markets.)

Who manages fisheries?
Fisheries are managed by various agreements and laws that are enforced by governmental agencies at the city, state, inter-state, tribal, national, and international level. (For more information see Fishery Management.)

Are all fish populations declining?
No. While many fisheries are declining globally, there are many other fisheries that are currently growing or are being maintained at a constant level. (For more information see Status of Fisheries.)

What is a Marine Protected Area?
An area in the marine environment that has been set aside by laws or regulations to provide lasting protection for part of or all of the natural and cultural resources within the area. The activities allowed within a Marine Protected Area vary depending on the laws or regulations of the site. (Click here for more information)

What is Ecosystem-Based Management?
Ecosystem-Based Management (EBM) considers the whole ecosystem, including humans and the environment, rather than managing one issue or resource in isolation. EBM relies on: the best available information and science; coordination across partner agencies; integration of ecological, social, and economic factors; and stakeholder involvement in planning processes. (Click here for more information)

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