Fisheries and aquaculture

The livelihood of millions of people living in coastal areas depends on fisheries. The issue of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing (IUU) is of global concern because it threatens fish stocks, ocean biodiversity and the incomes generated by sustainable fisheries.

IUCN advocates within international agreements to influence policy toward sustainable management of fisheries and aquaculture worldwide.

IUCN's work on fisheries and aquaculture

At the same time as the issue of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing (IUU) is becoming of global concern, the effects of climate change on oceans, namely sea warming and acidification, are affecting the aquaculture productions worldwide by fostering the outbreak of diseases. Moreover, in recent years we have witnessed an increase of coastal flooding phenomena often due to coastal erosion caused by the establishment of aquaculture facilities.

IUCN has produced numerous publications on fisheries and aquaculture over the years.  Its more recent focus has been on providing guidance for the sustainable development of aquaculture and exploring synergies between aquaculture and marine protected areas.

IUCN's wider constituency is also very active, notably through its Fisheries Expert Group, within the IUCN Commission on Ecosystem Management and and through its People and the Ocean Specialist Group, part of the Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy.

178 Million tons


of aquatic animals fished or produce through aquaculture in 2020 (FAO) - a record

600 million people

rely on the fisheries and aquaculture sector for their livelihoods.

Resources and research

Small-scale fishers' call to action

During the World UN Ocean Congress in Lisbon, small scale fishers and Indigenous communities presented a Call to Action that requested that these communities, and their rights and resources, be secured and restored.

Women harvest seaweed for soap, cosmetics and medicine, Zanzibar, Tanzania, East Africa
IUCN case study examines the interaction between aquaculture and marine…

A new IUCN case study focuses on the coasts and coastal communities of Zanzibar that use them, analysing whether life-supporting aquaculture and marine conservation are really working, and how.<…

Join the Task Force on Reducing the Impact of Fisheries on Marine Biodiversity

Ocean health depends on thriving biodiversity, but unsustainable and poorly regulated fisheries can exert significant, growing proximate pressure on biodiversity. The IUCN World Conservation Congress 2021 in its Resolution 7.107 requested the Director General and Commission Chairs to establish a Task Force to reconcile fisheries and conservation that involves all IUCN Commissions and all IUCN Regions; that takes account of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean; and that draws on relevant reports from peer organisations.