What to Know About the Fishing Industry?

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What to Know About the Fishing Industry?

The fishing industry holds significant sway on a global scale, acting as a cornerstone for both sustenance and economic stability. The sector that employs over 59 million people worldwide and provides livelihoods for millions more indirectly contributes approximately $270 billion to the global economy annually. In France, fishing is crucial not only for its economic significance but also for its cultural heritage, offering a diverse array of products ranging from iconic seafood like oysters and mussels to delicacies like sole and turbot. Throughout this overview, the diverse facets of the fishing industry will be explored, including its economic, environmental, and socio-cultural dimensions.

As one of the most widely consumed foods in the world, fish is steadily gaining popularity over time. In 2023, the world produced a total of 186.6 million metric tons of fish, showing a slight increase from the 184.6 million metric tons recorded in 2022. This growth reflects both the rising demand for seafood and the continued efforts of the fishing industry to meet consumer needs.

Understanding the Industry Scale

view from a fishing vessel at sea

The value of the global seafood market exceeded 236.61 billion dollars in 2023 and is anticipated to expand to around 331 billion dollars by 2028. The fishing industry supports a significant number of jobs across the globe, contributing to both local economies and global food security. According to data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the main global regulatory body for the fishing industry, over 59 million people worldwide are employed in various fishing-related activities. This includes individuals directly involved in fishing, such as fishermen and processors, as well as those indirectly employed in sectors like transportation and retail.

Industry Value in Fishing

About 90% of all workers in capture fisheries are part of the artisanal and small-scale fishing sphere. The sector makes up 1.5% of global GDP, while the fish processing market reached a value of 187.7 billion dollars in 2022. These figures underscore the significant economic of responsibly managed fisheries. Approximately 900,000 tonnes of fisheries products are produced in France annually, with 65% from sea fishing, 35% from aquaculture, and a marginal amount from inland fishing. With a population of around 65 million, France boasts an impressive average consumption of nearly 32kg per person of fisheries products annually, positioning it above all member states of the European Union (the EU-28).

Trends and major players in the global fishing market

Recent trends highlight a growing emphasis on sustainable fishing practices and increasing demand for seafood products, driven by factors such as population growth and changing consumer preferences. Here are two trends and major players in the global fishing market:

Sustainable Fishing Practices: There is a growing emphasis on sustainable fishing practices to ensure the long-term health of marine ecosystems and fish stocks. This includes measures such as implementing fishing quotas, reducing bycatch, and promoting responsible fishing methods.

Technological Advancements: The fishing industry is experiencing rapid technological advancements, including satellite technology for fisheries monitoring, improved vessel tracking systems, and innovations in aquaculture techniques.

Fishermen Population

Fishermen are indispensable for bringing fish to our plates. The sector employs over 11 million individuals, comprising fishermen (8.69%), fish farmers (35.06%), fish processors, marketers (55.84%), and salt farmers (0.41%).

Challenges faced by fishermen worldwide

Fish stands out as the top-traded protein worldwide. In fisheries trade, products commonly move from developing to developed countries. Unfortunately, fishermen face a multitude of challenges within their profession, including:

Overfishing: Depleting fish stocks due to excessive fishing pressure, leading to reduced catches and economic hardships for fishermen.

Environmental Degradation: Damage to marine ecosystems from fishing practices such as bottom trawling, dynamite fishing, and bycatch that impacts biodiversity and ecosystem health.

Climate Change: This includes rising sea temperatures, ocean acidification, and unpredictable weather patterns, affecting fish migration patterns and fishing grounds.

Access to Markets: Limited access to markets, lack of infrastructure, and difficulties in reaching consumers, particularly in remote coastal areas, pose challenges for fishermen to sell their catch at fair prices.

The importance of the fishing workforce in the industry

Serving as the backbone of seafood production worldwide, the fishing workforce is indispensable to the industry. Their dedication and expertise sustain vital supply chains, ensuring the availability of fish for consumption and trade. Beyond harvesting, fishermen play a crucial role in upholding sustainable fishing practices, preserving marine ecosystems, and safeguarding coastal communities’ livelihoods. Their efforts not only contribute to global food security but also embody a deep connection to the sea and its resources, shaping cultures and economies around the globe.

National Fishing Statistics

In recent years, French consumers have shown a growing interest in specific attributes of fishing products, such as sustainable sourcing, traceable origin, high quality, and ethical farming practices. Since mass retailers drive a considerable portion of aquatic product sales, they must strive towards meeting these expectations, by offering labels and other assurances of product quality.

Aquaculture Production

Aquaculture, also known as fish farming, involves the cultivation of aquatic organisms such as fish, shellfish, and aquatic plants in controlled environments. This practice serves as a vital component of global food production, providing a sustainable source of seafood to meet the growing demand while also supporting livelihoods and economies.

Global trends and statistics related to aquaculture

Aquaculture production has been increasing over the years, with global production reaching over 82 million tonnes in 2020, up from around 20 million tonnes in the 1980s. The most farmed species include finfish such as carp, tilapia, and salmon, as well as shellfish like shrimp, oysters, and mussels. Asia-Pacific remains the largest producer of farmed seafood, accounting for over 89% of global aquaculture production, with China alone contributing more than two-thirds of the total output.

Sustainability Efforts

There is a growing emphasis on sustainable aquaculture practices, including certification programs such as the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) and Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP), aimed at ensuring environmental responsibility and social accountability in the industry. In addition, innovations in aquaculture technology, such as recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS), offshore aquaculture, and genetic improvement programs, are driving efficiency and productivity gains in the sector.

aquaculture industry

The significance of aquaculture in France’s fishing industry

France has a rich tradition of aquaculture, focusing on mollusks and trout farming. Since the Middle Ages, regions like the South-West and Central France have farmed freshwater fish such as carp, roach, and tench. Over the last two decades, aquaculture has expanded quickly in French overseas territories. For instance, in New Caledonia, shrimp farming caters to the Japanese market, while in Mayotte/Reunion, marine fish production of red drum and cobia targets European markets. The practice supports coastal economies and rural communities by providing employment opportunities and contributing to regional development initiatives.

Sinay's Role in Fisheries Observation

Sinay revolutionizes fisheries observation by integrating environmental monitoring solutions into a unified platform. Through collaborative efforts with fishermen and EU authorities, Sinay’s technicians collect crucial data on marine ecosystems, enabling informed decision-making on species management, fishing quotas allocation, and ecosystem health assessment. Leveraging advanced technologies like AI (Artificial Intelligence), ML (Machine Learning), and IoT (Internet of Things), Sinay extends its expertise beyond fisheries monitoring to encompass diverse environmental parameters, ensuring holistic insights into the marine environment.

Sinay is also involved in the Obsmer Program. 

Products in the Fishing Industry

These encompass a diverse range of seafood, including fish, shellfish, and crustaceans, harvested from both marine and freshwater environments.

Seafood Market in France

In 2020, France ranked fifth globally in the fish and seafood market, accounting for 4.4% of the market’s total value, with imports reaching US$6.5 billion. The fish and seafood market there is forecasted to experience a growth rate of 2.98% from 2024 to 2028, reaching a market volume of US$17.16 billion by 2028. The country imports a significant portion of its seafood, with popular choices including salmon, shrimp, cod, and tuna. Trends in recent years indicate a growing preference for sustainable and locally sourced seafood, driven by increasing awareness of environmental concerns. Moreover, there is a rising interest in premium and specialty seafood products among French consumers, contributing to a dynamic market landscape.

Regional Specialties

The regional differences contribute to the diversity of the French seafood market, offering a plethora of flavors, techniques, and dining experiences that reflect the unique terroir and culinary traditions of each area.

Brittany: Renowned for its coastal cuisine, specialties like “cotriade” (a fish stew) and “plateau de fruits de mer” (seafood platter) highlight the region’s abundance of fresh seafood.

Normandy: The region boasts dishes like “moules marinières” (mussels cooked in white wine) and “sole meunière” (sole cooked in butter), reflecting its maritime traditions.

In the Mediterranean: Dishes like “bouillabaisse” (fish stew) and “rouget barbet” (red mullet) celebrate the region’s vibrant seafood culture.

Impact of Commercial Fishing Practices

Certifications and labels such as MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) and ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council) are prominent in the French market, guaranteeing seafood sustainability. These certifications assure consumers that their seafood choices align with environmental conservation efforts, promoting responsible fishing practices and protecting marine ecosystems. By adhering to sustainable fishing practices, commercial fishing activities in French waters contribute to the preservation of marine biodiversity and the long-term health of aquatic ecosystems.

Towards Sustainable Fisheries!

Fish is a vital food source for over 3 billion people, providing 20% of their daily protein. According to the UN, 34.2% of the world’s fish are now overfished, an increase in 40 years. With the global population expected to reach 10 billion by 2050 and more people eating seafood, meeting this growing demand is a big challenge. In France, fishing holds economic significance and cultural importance, offering a diverse array of seafood products. Through certifications, labels, and innovations, consumers can make informed choices that support seafood sustainability, ensuring a thriving industry for future generations.

Frequently Asked Questions About Byctach of Marine Mammals

Overfishing depletes fish populations, disrupting the delicate balance of marine ecosystems. This can lead to the collapse of fish stocks, loss of biodiversity, and disruptions in food chains, impacting not only fish populations but also other marine organisms and habitats.

Several measures exist to combat illegal fishing, including satellite monitoring, onboard observers, port state controls, and international agreements such as the Port State Measures Agreement.

These efforts aim to detect, deter, and eliminate illegal fishing practices, safeguarding marine resources and supporting sustainable fishing.

Fisheries management policies can have significant socio-economic implications, influencing employment, income, and community well-being.

Sustainable management practices can support long-term economic viability by ensuring the continued availability of fish stocks and maintaining healthy ecosystems.

However, poorly designed or implemented policies may lead to conflicts over resource access, job losses, and economic instability in fishing-dependent communities.

Efforts to mitigate marine mammal bycatch include the use of innovative technologies like Turtle Excluder Devices and Acoustic Deterrent Devices, as well as regulatory frameworks and collaborative initiatives among stakeholders.

Additionally, leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) for data analysis and developing selective fishing gear can help reduce unintentional captures and preserve marine mammal populations.

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