To highlight the importance of small scale capture fisheries contributions to employment, livelihood and the economy, the World Bank recently released its study on “Hidden Harvest: The Global Contribution of Capture Fisheries”. FAO and WorldFish Center also collaborated on the study.
Download the report here
Although cautious in its conclusions owing to the quality of data available, this is the first global attempt to come to grips with the numbers. For the first time for capture fisheries, women were also explicitly counted in all estimates, and the results are higher than previously reported at the global level. “Hidden Harvest” estimated that “47 percent of the total workforce is women, which in developing countries equates to 56 million jobs.” Further “The role of women in fisheries is not limited to processing and marketing; women are also investors, sources of credit, managers of household fishing receipts, and consumers who make important decisions on family nutrition.” In the 2010-11 FAO State of Food and Agriculture Report, highlighting the gender gap in agricultural productivity (https://genderaquafish.org/2011/03/12/women-face-gender-gap-in-agriculture/), FAO estimated that about 30 percent of primary and secondary employment in fisheries and aquaculture sector.
KEY FINDINGS OF “HIDDEN HARVEST”
- Approximately 120 million full-time and part-time workers are directly dependent on commercial capture fisheries value chains for their livelihoods.
- Ninety-seven percent (116 million) of these people live in developing countries. Among them,
- more than 90 percent (including almost 32 million fishers) work in the small-scale fisheries subsector,
- 47 percent of the total workforce is women, which in developing countries equates to 56 million jobs,
- over half (60 million) of those employed in fisheries value chains in developing countries work in small-scale inland fisheries, and
- 73 percent (approximately 23 million) of developing country fishers and fish workers live in Asia.
- Over half of the catch in developing countries is produced by the small-scale subsector, and 90 to 95 percent of the small-scale landings are destined for local human consumption.
- Commercial capture fisheries, including postharvest activities, are conservatively estimated to have contributed $274 billion to the global GDP in 2007. This is slightly less than 1 percent of the total global GDP.
- The pre-harvest value chain (including such activities as boatbuilding and equipment manufacture and sale) may add a further $160 billion to the GDP estimate.
- Global estimated expenditures by approximately 220 million recreational fishers are about $190 billion annually.
- Recreational fisheries can be of greater economic importance than commercial fisheries in some countries, and they contribute about $70 billion to global GDP.
- An estimated 5.8 million fishers in the world earn less than $1 per day.
- Fish is a vital source of nutrition and feeds more than 1 billion consumers to whom fish is a key component of their diets.
- Subsistence fisheries are a large economic activity and livelihood component of rural communities, but the numbers of subsistence fishers at the global level and the importance of fish to such households are poorly quantified.
- The role of women in fisheries is not limited to processing and marketing; women are also investors, sources of credit, managers of household fishing receipts, and consumers who make important decisions on family nutrition.
- Small-scale fishing communities are among the poorest and most afflicted with social ills and may be further marginalized by a failure to recognize the importance of fisheries.
- Large-scale fisheries land more fish, but small-scale fisheries produce more fish for domestic human consumption.
- National reported capture fisheries production statistics seem to underestimate overall commercial catches by about 10 percent and small-scale inland captures by as much as 70 percent.
- Employment in small-scale fisheries is several times higher per ton of harvest than in large-scale fisheries.
- Small-scale fisheries generate less waste in the form of discards (unwanted catch dumped at sea).
- Like other primary production sectors, fisheries tend to be more important in developing economies than in developed economies.