Marine fisheries are a crucial source of food and income for people around the world. Keeping fish populations healthy and fish stocks sustainable is important for reefs and the people who rely on reefs and reef fisheries; therefore it is of paramount importance to take measures that counter this threat to fisheries’ health.  This is complicated, however, by the fact that much of the oceans fisheries remain unassessed.

A fishery refers to the populations of a species of fish, shellfish, other invertebrate, or group of species within a specific geographic area that are subject to fishing activities. A coral reef fishery refers to any fishery in which coral reefs provide essential habitat during some period of the harvested species’ life-stages. For example, the coral reef fishery in the Northern Reefs of Palau is diverse, and refers to reef-dependent marine species (e.g. snappers, groupers, emperors, parrotfishes) that are, in this case, harvested for subsistence and sold in local or regional markets.

Isaac Paulino looks out across the Nahtik Marine Protected Area (MPA), off the coast of Pohnpei near Enipein Village in the Federated States of Micronesia. Isaac and his father are both Community Conservation Officers and honored among their community for being stewards of marine resources. Isaac and his father take watch on a bamboo raft four to five nights each week to prevent illegal fishing in the Nahtik MPA. Photo © Nick Hall

Keeping fish populations healthy and fishing stocks sustainable is important for reefs and the people who rely on fisheries.

Last updated August 1, 2016

Importance of Reef Fisheries

Much of the world’s population relies on fish as their primary source of animal protein; coral reef fisheries also provide billions of dollars to the economies of many countries around the globe. Learn more.

Reef Fisheries Status

More than 90% of the world's assessed fisheries are fished at their biological limits or are overfished and require management plans to restore them. Overfishing is the result of many factors and can have a serious impact on coral reefs, fish and humans. Learn more.

Resilience of Fisheries

In fishery resource management, there is a growing need to understand the resilience of the system from both the biological aspect (the fish) and the social aspect (the people who depend on the fish). Learn more.

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