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Proportion of fish stocks within biologically sustainable levels

Key indicator facts

Indicator type

Pressure

Applicable for national use

No

Indicator classification

Operational and included in the CBD's list of indicators

Indicator type

Pressure

Applicable for national use

No

Indicator classification

Operational and included in the CBD's list of indicators

Last update

2016

Coverage

Global

Availability

Not freely available

Partners

Fao

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Contact point

Indicator description

The proportion of fish stocks in safe biological limits indicator encompasses information on the proportion of overexploited, fully exploited and non-fully exploited fish stocks. This directly indicates the level of progress towards sustainable management of fish stocks, in which overfishing is avoided and the impacts of fisheries on stocks, species and ecosystems are within safe ecological limits.

Related Aichi Targets

Primary target

6

Target 6:

By 2020 all fish and invertebrate stocks and aquatic plants are managed and harvested sustainably, legally and applying ecosystem based approaches, so that overfishing is avoided, recovery plans and measures are in place for all depleted species, fisheries have no significant adverse impacts on threatened species and vulnerable ecosystems and the impacts of fisheries on stocks, species and ecosystems are within safe ecological limits.

Primary target

6

Target 6:

By 2020 all fish and invertebrate stocks and aquatic plants are managed and harvested sustainably, legally and applying ecosystem based approaches, so that overfishing is avoided, recovery plans and measures are in place for all depleted species, fisheries have no significant adverse impacts on threatened species and vulnerable ecosystems and the impacts of fisheries on stocks, species and ecosystems are within safe ecological limits.

6

Related SDGs

E sdg goals icons individual rgb 14

GOAL 14 - Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

Target 14.4| Official indicator

By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics.

Target 14.7| Relevant indicator

By 2030, increase the economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources, including through sustainable management of fisheries, aquaculture and tourism.

Target 14.a| Relevant indicator

Increase scientific knowledge, develop research capacity and transfer marine technology, taking into account the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission Criteria and Guidelines on the Transfer of Marine Technology, in order to improve ocean health and to enhance the contribution of marine biodiversity to the development of developing countries, in particular small island developing States and least developed countries.

Target 14.c| Relevant indicator

Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law as reflected in UNCLOS, which provides the legal framework for the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources, as recalled in paragraph 158 of The Future We Want.

E sdg goals icons individual rgb 14

GOAL 14 - Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

E sdg goals icons individual rgb 14

Other related MEAs and processes

Cites high resolution

CITES

Target 1.6| Relevant indicator

Parties cooperate in managing shared wildlife resources.

Cms logo blue4c

CMS

Target 5| Relevant indicator

Governments, key sectors and stakeholders at all levels have taken steps to achieve or have implemented plans for sustainable production and consumption, keeping the impacts of natural resource use on migratory species well within safe ecological limits to promote the favourable conservation status of migratory species and maintain the quality, integrity, resilience, and connectivity of their habitats and migratory routes.

Target 6| Relevant indicator

Fisheries and hunting have no significant direct or indirect adverse impacts on migratory species, their habitats or their migration routes, and impacts of fisheries and hunting are within safe ecological limits.

Indicator icon

IPBES Global Assessment Chapters

Chapter 2| Official indicator

Status and trends; indirect and direct drivers of change

Chapter 3| Official indicator

Progress towards meeting major international objectives related to biodiversity and ecosystem services

Indicator icon

IPBES Regional Assessment Chapters

Chapter 2| Official indicator

Nature’s benefits to people and quality of life

Chapter 3| Official indicator

Status, trends and future dynamics of biodiversity and ecosystems underpinning nature’s benefits to people

Chapter 4| Relevant indicator

Direct and indirect drivers of change in the context of different perspectives of quality of life

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Ramsar

Target 13| Relevant indicator

Enhanced sustainability of key sectors such as water, energy, mining, agriculture, tourism, urban development, infrastructure, industry, forestry, aquaculture and fisheries when they affect wetlands, contributing to biodiversity conservation and human livelihoods

Cites high resolution

CITES

Cms logo blue4c

CMS

Indicator icon

IPBES Global Assessment Chapters

Indicator icon

IPBES Regional Assessment Chapters

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Ramsar

Cites high resolution
Cms logo blue4c
Indicator icon
Indicator icon
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Themes

Marine

Marine & freshwater habitats

View related indicators >
Bip sustainable

Sustainable use of natural resources and land

View related indicators >
Marine
Bip sustainable

Partners

Fao

Key indicator facts

Indicator type

Pressure

Applicable for national use

No

Indicator classification

Operational and included in the CBD's list of indicators

Indicator type

Pressure

Applicable for national use

No

Indicator classification

Operational and included in the CBD's list of indicators

Last update

2016

Coverage

Global

Availability

Not freely available

Indicator description

The proportion of fish stocks in safe biological limits indicator encompasses information on the proportion of overexploited, fully exploited and non-fully exploited fish stocks. This directly indicates the level of progress towards sustainable management of fish stocks, in which overfishing is avoided and the impacts of fisheries on stocks, species and ecosystems are within safe ecological limits.

Contact point

Graphs / Diagrams

At the global level, the proportion of stocks within safe biological limits has decreased from 90% in 1974 to 68.6% in 2013, with overexploited stocks reaching 31.4%.

Figure 1: Proportion of fish stocks within safe biological limits. Source: FAO, 2016.

Current storyline

Fisheries are an important source of food, income, jobs, and recreation for people around the world. Global marine fisheries produced about 80 million tonnes of fish in 2013, providing about 17% of people’s animal protein intake, and directly employed about 38 million people world-wide. Fisheries therefore make significant contributions to the food security, economy and wellbeing of coastal communities. However, fishing also has an impact on fish stocks and their relevant marine ecosystems. With the continuous increase of the world population, demand for fish will increase and so will fishing pressure on fish resources. It is important to monitor the state of overexploited fish stocks because the proportion of stocks inside safe biological limits:

- is a direct measure of sustainability of fishery resources,

- is an indicator referred to by many international instruments e.g. the Law of the Sea, the UN Fish Stocks Agreement, the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, and the SDGs,

- provides a measure of aquatic ecosystem sustainability,

- reflects fishery production and its social-economic benefits, and

- can be used for the formulation of fishery policy and the development of fishery management plans.

At the global level, the proportion of fish stocks within safe biological limits, classified as fully or under-exploited by the FAO, has decreased continuously from 90% in 1974 to 68.6% in 2013. Of the fish stocks within safe biological limits, the proportion of fully exploited stocks was 58.1%, while the proportion of under- exploited stocks was just 10.5%.

The proportion of fish stocks outside safe biological limits has been increasing since the start of the FAO monitoring assessment in 1974, reaching 31.4% in 2013. The overall stock status of the world’s marine fishery resources has deteriorated over time. However, the increase has decelerated after 1989. Fish stock status differs among species groups and among regions. The ten most productive species accounted for about 24 percent of world marine capture fisheries production in 2013. Most of their stocks are fully fished and some are overfished.

This storyline is based on data provided by the 2016 State of the World’s Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) reporting by the FAO.

The proportion of fish stocks outside safe biological limits is calculated based on the 584 "stock" items FAO has monitored since 1974, of which 395 stocks were assessed in 2013, representing about 70% of global catch. This indicator may not be representative of the stocks that were not monitored. Fish stocks outside safe biological limits are those abundance of which has been fished down below the level that produces maximum sustainable yield. Fish stocks inside safe biological limits include those which are fully exploited, and so at or close to maximum sustainable production, as well as non-fully exploited stocks.

Data and methodology

Coverage: Global.

Scale: Global data, Aggregated from regional data.

Time series available: 1974 onwards.

Next planned update: 2018.

Methodology: The indicator covers the world marine fishery resources. The FAO assessment classifies fish stocks into three categories: overexploited, fully exploited and under-exploited, and their percentages were calculated based on the number of stocks for each category at global level. The proportion of fish stocks outside safe biological limits is the percentage of overexploited stocks. The proportion of fish stocks inside safe biological limits is the percentages of fully exploited and non-fully exploited stocks. Such proportions can also be calculated for FAO statistical areas, but not for each country.

National use of indicator

The FAO assessment is based on FAO’s statistical areas, i.e. a species within the statistical area is considered as an assessment unit, which is different from the classical concept of unit fish stock. Therefore, no national proportions of stocks outside or inside safe biological limits can be calculated from the FAO assessment.

Further resources

Key indicator facts

Indicator type

Pressure

Applicable for national use

No

Indicator classification

Operational and included in the CBD's list of indicators

Indicator type

Pressure

Applicable for national use

No

Indicator classification

Operational and included in the CBD's list of indicators

Last update

2016

Coverage

Global

Availability

Not freely available

Partners

Fao

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Contact point