We share the article How many people are employed in fishing and aquaculture? from the fishing and overweight report published by OurWorldData.
Fish plays an important role in the nutrition of communities around the world. For many, it is a key source of high-quality protein and provides other vital micronutrients for health.
But people also depend on fishing and fish farming as their main source of income. How many people are employed in these industries?
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) estimates that 59.5 million people worldwide were employed as fishermen (wild fish capture) or fish farmers (aquaculture) in 2018. The breakdown of the employment by region and the divide between fishing and fish farming. in the graphic.
More people are employed in wild capture than in fish farming: a difference of 39 million to 21 million. Unsurprisingly, Asia is home to the majority of the world’s fishermen and fish farmers, employing 50 million of the 59 million globally.
The other graph shows us how employment has changed since 1995. Globally, employment in the industry has increased by 60%, but with much faster growth in aquaculture. In 1995, fish farming was a very small industry, but it has grown rapidly in recent decades. More of our seafood now comes from aquaculture than from the wild catch.
Employment in fishing has increased in all regions except Europe. The number of fishermen across Europe has more than halved since its peak in 2000 [you can view these trends by region using the blue “Change Region” button].
The fishing industry is not only an important source of nutrition for many; it is also a key source of income for at least 59 million people. I say ‘at least’ because many more will be employed through indirect jobs like food processing, catering, and fisheries management.
Source: FAO. 2020. The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2020. Sustainability in action. rome. https://doi.org/10.4060/ca9229en taken from OurWorldData – https://ourworldindata.org/fish-and-overfishing
Ritchie H. & Roser M. (2021, October) Fishing and Overfishing, Our world in Data (first published). URL: https://ourworldindata.org/fish-and-overfishing
With thanks from the authors to Ray Hilborn, Michael Melnychuk, Max Mossler, and Daniel Hively of the RAM Legacy Stock Assessment Database for the data conversion and feedback about the project.