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Global leading fishing nations 2017

This statistic shows the world's leading fishing nations in 2017, based on capture production. China caught about 15.37 million metric tons of fish in that year.

Worldwide fishing

The act of fishing dates back to thousands of years before the Common Era. Fishing was well-suited to the lifestyle of the hunter-gatherer, who would engage himself in the act when presented with a body of water. Ancient fishing tools could consist of a spear, a rod, a net, or merely a pair of human hands. Since then, fishing techniques have developed extensively and one can see many different techniques both traditional and modern at work around the globe today.

Worldwide fish production is increasing yearly, presumably meeting the demands of a growing world population. Fresh fish is in highest demand, but there are a myriad of routes to consumption, including frozen, canned, and smoked, as well as certain non-food purposes, such as for fish meal, fish oil, or fertilizer.

With such a high demand, overfishing is fast becoming a problem. Overfishing occurs when fish populations are unacceptably reduced due to human fishing activities. This can prove disastrous for fish species as well as fishing-dependent coastal communities, not to mention the effect on the marine ecosystem. While some criticize the taste and life quality of farm-raised fish, this may be a better option for fish-eating consumers concerned about the environment.

Top 10 fishing nations worldwide in 2017 (in million metric tons)*

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Release date

November 2019



Survey time period


Supplementary notes

* Fish, crustaceans, molluscs, etc. Capture production only, no aquaculture included.

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Statistics on "U.S. fishery"

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