The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) is the flagship publication of the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department and is published every two years to provide policy-makers, civil society and those whose livelihoods depend on the sector a comprehensive, objective and global view of capture fisheries and aquaculture, including associated policy issues – and recently – the most updated version was released: http://www.fao.org/3/i9540en/I9540EN.pdf 

“Total fish production in 2016 reached an all-time high of 171 million tonnes, of which 88 percent was utilized for direct human consumption” – SOFIA 2018

The SMARTFISH objective is – as most know by know – to develop, test and promote a suite of high-tech systems for the EU fishing sector, to optimize resource efficiency, to improve automatic data collection for fish stock assessment, to provide evidence of compliance with fishery regulations and to reduce ecological impact.

This is important, especially considering the FAO report projects an 8.7% growth in fisheries and aquaculture in the EU between 2016 and 2030 (Table 22: Projected fish production). In the report, the European Commission also comments that the economic performance of the EU fleet has improved considerably, with increasing profits – despite a decrease in catches by 6.7% in 2016 despite the landing obligation to eliminate discards since January 2015.

The results from the SMARTFISH project will

Assist commercial fishers in making informed decisions during pre-catch, catching, and post-catch phases of the extraction process. This improves catch efficiencies and compositions in fisheries across the EU, leading to improved economic efficiency while reducing unintended fish mortality, unnecessary fishing pressure and ecosystem damage;

Provide new data for stock assessment from commercial fishing and improve the quality and quantity of data that comes from traditional assessment surveys. This provides more accurate assessment of currently assessed stocks and allow the assessment of data-poor stocks; and

Permit the automatic collection of catch data to ensure compliance with fisheries management regulations.