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World Fisheries Day:
November 21st, 2023

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World Fisheries Day was established in 1997 to draw attention to overfishing, habitat destruction and other serious threats to the sustainability of our marine and freshwater resources. It encourages us to reflect on the ever-increasing challenge of sustaining our fish stocks in light of continued overfishing, water pollution and climate change. This year, attention will be given to “thinking big about small scale fisheries”.

World Fisheries Day is an opportunity to reflect on the importance of fishing, fishers and our coastal communities. Through participation in classroom activities, young people can be encouraged to help make a difference in the health of our aquatic ecosystems and the future of all those employed in the fishing industry.



Why Care about Fisheries?

  • The human population consumes over 100 million metric tons of fish annually (Fisheries & Oceans Canada 2018)
  • More than 25% of the world’s dietary protein is provided by fish. ( 2020)
  • Each year the Canadian fishery lands over 1 million metric tons of fish valued in excess of 2 billion dollars.  (Fisheries & Oceans Canada 2018)
  • The global fish market is valued at over 160 billion dollars ( 2020)
  • Fisheries and aquaculture employ more than 43 million individuals worldwide. (FA0 2018)
  • Fishing is one of the world’s most dangerous professions. It  often lacks adequate labour regulation, and vessels have been associated with forced labour, trafficking, and other abuses of workers.(FAO 2021)
  • A recent United Nations study reported that more than two-thirds of the world's fisheries have collapsed or are currently being overfished.  Much of the remaining one third is in a state of decline because of habitat degradation from pollution and climate change.
  • The largest Northern Cod fishery in the world was located off the coast of Newfoundland.  This engine of the Newfoundland economy collapsed in the early 1990’s due to overfishing and poor fisheries management.  Thirty years later Newfoundland’s commercial cod fishery remains closed.
  • All natural fish stocks today contain at least trace amounts of mercury.
  • Small scale fishers produce 40% of the global catch and employ 90%  of all those involved in fisheries. ( 2023)
  • 492 million people depend on small scale fisheries for their livelihoods. (FAO 2022)

Resources 4 Rethinking encourages students and teachers to participate in World Fisheries Day.  Top R4R Picks will connect you to some excellent resources to support these efforts.


Click here for more information about World Fisheries Day