|CERES No. 070 - July - August 1979 (FAO Ceres, 1979, 50 p.)|
During the past decade, data gathered from global fishing activities have revealed two significant trends: one in regard to catches, the other concerning levels of assistance to fisheries in developing countries.
The steady expansion that characterized the world fishery production for the first two and a half decades of the post-World War II period, an increase that averaged about 7 percent per year, levelled off suddenly during the 1970s. During the past decade, the world catch has fluctuated considerably from year to year around the 70 million-ton level, reflecting in part the uncertain harvest from the Peruvian anchoveta. There are other stocks, however, as the accompanying charts indicate, that have been fully or over exploited and thus have become more vulnerable to environmental pressures. If world fishery production is to resume a more stable growth pattern, there will be need for improved management of the heavily fished, more readily accessible stocks as well as considerable investment to utilize other stocks that so far have been less commercially attractive.
The recognition of exclusive economic zones (EEZs) under the new Law of the Sea regime will imply greater responsibilities in management for many developing countries. During the past five or six years, concessional assistance to fisheries in the developing world has grown steadily, achieving an average increase of about 8 percent per year over all. Certain types of support, such as bilateral technical assistance, for example, have grown even faster.
Approximately 40 percent of concessionary aid has been directed toward East Asia and the Pacific, apparently reflecting the recognition by donors of the importance of fishery development in a region where many countries have a per caput consumption twice the world average. Latin America is the second most favoured region in terms of concessional aid to fisheries, though this figure is somewhat distorted by one unusually large loan to Mexico.
In general, however, there appears to be a trend toward wider disbursement of concessional aid, notably in the Near East where OPEC funds have become a major source of support for fishery development.