Global Fisheries Catch

What is it?
This is a dataset of global fisheries landings based on a range of public sources combined which are then mapped to a system of global 30-min spatial cells based on information on the animals reported, the country fishing and any spatial information available (1). The data that is sourced includes the year of fishing, the country fishing, the taxa fished (specificity varies from the very general to single species) and the statistical area where fishing occurred (which can be very precise or cover huge areas). Based on publicly available associations between these factors, the catch is associated with various fishing gear types (2,3). Further, the mapped catch is examined and estimates of small-scale fishing (4) and large-scale fishing made. Estimates of illegal and unreported catch are added (5), as are estimates of discards at sea (6). See descriptions and metadata at

Global fisheries catch 1950-2015

Map scale

Where does the information come from?
A harmonised and mapped compilation of global catch from 1950 to 2014 (7) derived from a range of sources including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) Capture Production 1950-2014 dataset (8) (Release date: March 2016, International Committee for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) 1950-2014 (, Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organisation (NAFO) Catch and Effort 1960-2014 (, Southeast Atlantic (SEAFO) Capture Production 1975-2014 (Release date: June 2016) (, General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) Capture production 1970-2014 (Release date: April 2016) (, Fishery Committee for the Eastern Central Atlantic (ECAF) Capture production 1970-2014 (Release date: May 2016) (, Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) Statistical Bulletin 2016 Vol. 28 1970-2014 ( and Sea Around Us project (SAUP) – records for FAO area 18 (Arctic) v1 1950 TO 2010 (extrapolated to 2014) ( (3). See description in (1,9,10 and references therein) for fuller details of data treatment.

How complete is it?
This dataset includes the latest public data (as of Dec 2016) covering the period from 1950 annually to 2014. There are estimates of large scale fishing, small scale fishing, illegal and unreported fishing (5), and discarding at sea (6).

How do you access this information?
The data is available for download as series of 5-year text files (comma-delimited csv) from the bottom of the metadata description page


  1. Watson, R., Kitchingman, A., Gelchu, A., Pauly, D. (2004) Mapping global fisheries: sharpening our focus. Fish and Fisheries 5, 168-177
  2. Watson, R., Revenga, C., Kura, Y. (2006.) Fishing gear associated with global marine catches: I Database development. Fisheries Research 79, 97-102.
  3. Watson, R., Revenga, C., Kura, Y. (2006) Fishing gear associated with global marine catches. II. Trends in trawling and dredging. Fisheries Research 79, 103-111.
  4. Chuenpagdee, R., Liguori, L., Palomares, M. L. D. & Pauly, D. Bottom up, global estimates of small-scale marine fisheries catches. 105pp (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada, 2006)
  5. Agnew, D. J. et al. Estimating the worldwide extent of illegal fishing. PLoS One 4, e4570, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004570 (2009).
  6. Kelleher, K. Discards in the world’s marine fisheries. An update., 131 (FAO, Rome, 2005).
  7. Global Fisheries Landings V2.0. Accessed Nov. 2016;
  8. FAO FishStatJ. FAO, Rome. Accessed Oct. 2016; (2015).
  9. Pauly, D. & Zeller, D. (ed.) Catch Reconstruction: concepts, methods and data sources. Online Publication. Sea Around Us ( University of British Columbia. (2015).
  10. Anticamara, J.A. et al. Global fishing effort (1950–2010): Trends, gaps, and implications. Fish. Res. 107,131-136 (2011).
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