© GIZ/Mechthild Kronen

Unsustainable fishing is an increasing threat to developing countries. GIZ is committed to the conservation of wild stocks and thus to securing income, food and economic growth.


The global importance of fisheries for food security and the economy is high:

  • According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the oceans contribute 1.5 trillion US dollars a year to the value added of the economy as a whole.
  • According to estimates by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), fisheries and aquaculture secure the livelihoods of ten to twelve percent of the world's population.
  • More than 90 percent of workers in the fishing industry work in small enterprises in developing countries.
  • For 2.9 billion people, fish and seafood are the most important sources of animal protein.


According to the World Bank, inadequate fisheries management leads to annual costs of 50 billion euros. The alarming situation:

  • Globally, 31 percent of fish stocks are overfished.
  • The potential of 58 percent of fish stocks has been fully exploited and only eleven percent of the world's fish stocks could be exploited largely.
  • High after-catch losses: It is estimated that 20 million tonnes of the fish caught spoil every year, which is 23 percent of the annual marine catch landed worldwide.
  • In addition, 17 million tonnes of fish are processed into feed each year.


The impact of climate change, which threatens fisheries and their infrastructure, and has a negative impact on habitats and fish stocks, exacerbates the threat to the food and income of 200 million people in developing countries.

This exploitation, on the one hand, and waste, on the other, can no longer be afforded. On behalf of the Federal Government, GIZ is therefore promoting measures for sustainable and climate-friendly fisheries.

The sustainable development goals (SDGs), the 10-point action plan for marine conservation and sustainable fisheries of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and other international conventions and guidelines are pioneering in this respect.


In concrete terms, the GIZ advocates the following improvements:

  • It promotes equitable access to and use of fishery resources and their sustainable management based on the ecosystem approach, i.e. preserving natural resources and biodiversity while complying with ecological and social standards.
  • It helps organisations in partner countries to develop effective fisheries management. These include in particular the establishment of marine protected areas, the removal of trade barriers and the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.
  • It supports justice and equality in the fisheries sector through equal opportunities for women, fair access to resources and the involvement of all stakeholders.
  • It promotes the entire value chain, including environmental and consumer protection as well as social standards, taking into account adaptation to climate change. In doing so, it contributes to securing the food supply, income, economic growth and resilience of its partners.