FAO 2021 Classification and illustrated definition of fishing gears

The International Standard Statistical Classification of Fishing Gear (ISSCFG) was originally developed by FAO and published in 1971 as FAO Fisheries Circular 280. The classification was subsequently adopted in 1980 by the Coordinating Working Party on Atlantic Fishery Statistics (CWP), which was sponsored by FAO, the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) and the International Commission for the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries (ICNAF), the predecessor of the North Atlantic Fisheries Organization, (NAFO). The primary aim of standardizing codes in the ISSCFG was to prepare more accurate statistics on fish catches by gear type in the North Atlantic Area. Since then, the scope of CWP has expanded globally and it has become an FAO statutory body. The ISSCFG has provided a broad categorization of all types of fishing gear and operational practices to ensure the compatibility and comparability of data collected by different entities such as FAO Members and regional fishery bodies (RFBs) around the world. Accordingly, a revised edition of FAO fishing gear classification was published in 1990 as FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 222/ Rev.1 (Nédélec and Prado, 1990).
In 2005, FAO initiated an effort to update the classification and to revise the contents of the 1990 publication. At the request of FAO, a group of technical experts from the ICES-FAO Working Group on Fishing Technology and Fish Behaviour (WGFTFB) was formed to deal with the subject. The group met in Rome (2005) and Izmir (2006) and prepared a revised draft of the classification in 2007. At the annual WGFTFB meeting in Ancona, Italy (May 2009), a special meeting was held, with participation of selected WGFTFB members, CWP Secretariat and FAO, to coordinate the process of finalizing the revision. The Fishing Industry and Operation Branch of FAO made final revisions to the classification in 2009 and submitted to CWP in 2010 that endorsed the classification in 2016.
This new publication elaborates on the classification with clear definitions and extensive illustrations for different gear types. Each gear is described with main characteristics of components and operations to distinguish similar and sometimes confusing gear types. The purpose of the document is primarily to assist readers in identifying different types of fishing gear for the purposes of attributing and reporting fisheries catches by FAO Members, RFBs – including regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs) and regional fisheries advisory bodies (RFABs) – and intergovernmental organizations.


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