Fisheries and aquaculture contribute US$100 billion per year and about 260 million jobs to the global economy (UNDP, 2012). Women comprise 47 percent of the total workforce dependent on commercial capture fisheries for their livelihoods, including the post-harvest sector (World Bank, 2012). Global wild fish catch has been flat at around 80-85 million metric tonnes per year since the late 1980’s; the additional global demand since then has largely been made up by the rapid growth in aquaculture which now supplies about half of annual global consumption of fish protein.
About 30% of global fish stocks are considered overexploited, 60% fully exploited, and only 10% underexploited (FAO, 2010). 20% of fish stocks are subject to illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing, valued at $23 billion per year. Destructive fisheries subsidies that support unsustainable practices, total about $16 billion per year. World Bank/FAO estimate that the economic loss due to overfishing is now $83 billion per year (World Bank, 2017).
Fishermen along India’s western coast are now using square mesh nets and practicing sustainable marine fishing. It is earning them higher incomes, protecting marine biodiversity and paving the way for policy change in one of the country’s most important fishing coastlines.