The fishing industry includes any industry or activity concerned with taking, culturing, processing, preserving, storing, transporting, marketing or selling fish or fish products.
It is defined by the FAO as including recreational, subsistence and commercial fishing, and the harvesting, processing, and marketing sectors. The commercial activity is aimed at the delivery of fish and other seafood products for human consumption or as input factors in other industrial processes.
Following is a table of the 2005 world fishing industry harvest in tonnes by capture and by aquaculture.
|Fish, crustaceans, molluscs, etc||93,253,346||48,149,792||141,403,138|
The traditional fishing industry, or artisan fishing, are terms used to describe small scale commercial or subsistence fishing practises, particularly using traditional techniques such as rod and tackle, arrows and harpoons, throw nets and drag nets, etc. It does not usually cover the concept of fishing for sport, and might be used when talking about the pressures between large scale modern commercial fishing practises and traditional methods, or when aid programs are targeted specifically at fishing at or near subsistence levels.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the world harvest in 2005 consisted of 93.2 million tonnes captured by commercial fishing in wild fisheries, plus 48.1 million tonnes produced by fish farms. In addition, 1.3 million tons of aquatic plants (seaweed etc) were captured in wild fisheries and 14.8 million tons were produced by aquaculture.
The top producing countries were, in order, the People's Republic of China (excluding Hong Kong and Taiwan), Peru, Japan, the United States, Chile, Indonesia, Russia, India, Thailand, Norway and Iceland. Those countries accounted for more than half of the world's production; China alone accounted for a third of the world's production.
In the 1990s and 2000s it has become increasingly evident that industrial fishing has severely depleted stocks of certain types of ocean fish, such as cod.
Aquaculture is the cultivation of aquatic organisms. Unlike fishing, aquaculture, also known as aquafarming, is the cultivation of aquatic populations under controlled conditions. Mariculture refers to aquaculture practiced in marine environments. Particular kinds of aquaculture include algaculture (the production of kelp/seaweed and other algae); fish farming; shrimp farming, shellfish farming, and the growing of cultured pearls.
Fish farming involves raising fish commercially in tanks or enclosures, usually for food. Fish species raised by fish farms include salmon, catfish, tilapia, cod, carp, trout and others. Increasing demands on wild fisheries by commercial fishing operations have caused widespread overfishing. Fish farming offers an alternative solution to the increasing market demand for fish and fish protein.
Fish processing is the processing of fish delivered by commercial fisheries and fish farms. The larger fish processing companies have their own fishing fleets and independent fisheries. The products of the industry are usually sold wholesale to grocery chains or to intermediaries.
Fish processing can be subdivided into two categories: fish handling (the initial processing of raw fish) and fish products manufacturing. Aspects of fish processing occur on fishing vessels, fish processing vessels, and at fish processing plants.
Another natural subdivision is into primary processing involved in the filleting and freezing of fresh fish for onward distribution to fresh fish retail and catering outlets, and the secondary processing that produces chilled, frozen and canned products for the retail and catering trades.
Fisheries are estimated to currently provide 16% of the world population's protein. The flesh of many fish are primarily valued as a source of food; there are many edible species of fish. Other marine life taken as food includes shellfish, crustaceans, sea cucumber, jellyfish and roe.
Fish and other marine life are also be used for many other uses: pearls and mother-of-pearl, sharkskin and rayskin. Sea horses, star fish, sea urchins and sea cucumber are used in traditional Chinese medicine. Tyrian purple is a pigment made from marine snails, sepia is a pigment made from the inky secretions of cuttlefish. Fish glue has long been valued for its use in all manner of products. Isinglass is is used for the clarification of wine and beer. Fish emulsion is a fertilizer emulsion that is produced from the fluid remains of fish processed for fish oil and fish meal.
In the industry the term seafood products is often used instead of fish products.
Fish markets are marketplace used for the trade in and sale of fish and other seafood. They can be dedicated to wholesale trade between fishermen and fish merchants, or to the sale of seafood to individual consumers, or to both. Retail fish markets, a type of wet market, often sell street food as well.