Interplay of Information Levels

A FishSource Profile

FishSource uses the best available science and evidence of best practices to evaluate a fishery or aquaculture industry. FishSource structures information at a level that acquaints users with the ideal scenario - even if management or assessment impacts are not yet conducted at that level - and allows stakeholders to help improve the situation through realistic actions. 

Wild capture
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The system in effect may be the product of a national management authority or a regional or even smaller-scale authority or management instrument. Other instruments include bilateral agreements or multilateral agreements such as a regional fishery management organization (RFMO).

The term “fishery” can have many different meanings. Within FishSource profiles, we use it to indicate the combination of a flag country with a fishing gear operating within a management unit, upon a resource. It is the finest scale of resolution captured in FishSource profiles, as it is generally the scale at which sustainability can most fairly and practically be evaluated.

A group of vessels or fishers sharing some common features, such as nationality, operation in a particular location or at a particular time of the year, use of the same type of fishing gear or targeting of the same species or taxa.

A biological stock is a group of individual marine animals of a single species that is relatively self-contained, both spatially and temporally. Ideally, assessment and management are both conducted at this level, even if a stock spans national and international waters. 

Wild Capture Fisheries

Information on wild capture fisheries is structured around biological stocks, as this is the level at which status is most reliably assessed and management measures are most effective. FishSource then captures a further level of information, including the fisheries operating on that stock and their impacts on its sustainability and the sustainability of the surrounding ecosystem. The effectiveness of fisheries management and fisheries impacts are determined by the interplay of these three components: the biological stock, the management systems that regulate access to the stock and protect the rest of the ecosystem, and the fishing fleets and the gears and practices they employ.

FishSource profiles are named as:

Common name of taxon – name of resource

The lowest taxonomic level possible is used, preferably a species. When species are not differentiated in catches or assessments, structuring a profile at a higher taxon, such as genus or family, may be inevitable. Wherever possible, the common name in English from FAO’s ASFIS list is used. Occasionally, where more recent taxonomic knowledge supersedes the latest version of ASFIS, or where no common name is defined, other names may be used instead.

Whenever the biological stock structure is known, this will be chosen as the resource. When the stock is unknown but an assessment is available, this assessment unit is considered as the resource. When the stock structure is unknown and no assessment is performed, the resource is structured at the management level.

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The management systems and processes that regulate industry growth and performance within scientifically determined limits

An approach to aquaculture management that recognizes that farms are interconnected and aims to manage shared risks and cumulative impacts through appropriate planning and coordinated management practices. 

Farmers within a defined geographical waterbody coordinate and cooperate to adopt certain management practices and/or codes of conduct in order to mitigate against shared risks and cumulative impacts. 

Individual farms operate according to better management practices (BMPs) for their production system and species.

Zonal Management of Aquaculture

The information in FishSource aquaculture profiles is designed to provide users with an overview of how and where zonal management is being adopted by aquaculture industries. Zonal management of aquaculture is an approach that recognizes the interconnectedness of farms and their dependence on shared resources. It aims to ensure industry growth is based on scientific evidence of carrying capacities and disease risk; and that appropriate planning, husbandry practices, industry organization, regulation, and enforcement are in place to minimize environmental impact and catastrophic disease outbreaks across the industry.

In FishSource, the effectiveness of aquaculture management to protect shared natural resources and the industry is determined by the interplay of three components: the management systems that regulate industry growth and performance within scientifically determined limits; the aquaculture industry’s degree of coordination across multiple farms; and the existence of monitoring and public reporting.


Aquaculture profiles in FishSource are named as:

Species Group - Province/State

Species Groups follow those identified by GLOBEFISH, a unit of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). GLOBEFISH provide information and analysis on international fish trade and markets. The seafood sectors identified by GLOBEFISH are used here as they are most relevant to the primary audience of FishSource - seafood buyers.  In a few instances, GLOBEFISH has not identified seafood sectors/species groups that are of interest to FishSource; in these cases, the taxonomic family is applied as a ‘group’.

Province/State delineations used in FishSource follow the International Organization for Standardization standard ISO 3166-2 (called the Codes for the representation of names of countries and their subdivisions – Part 2: Country subdivision code).  The ISO 3166-2 defines codes for identifying the principle administrative subdivision directly below that of Country (i.e. first tier administrative unit).