Although fisheries and fishing are often used in different contexts as interchangeable terms, they are not synonyms. Fisheries is an industry engaged in fishing, fish farming and processing, whereas fishing is a practice of catching marine and freshwater organisms like fish, shellfish, crabs, cephalopods etc.
Fishing is an old activity which, as it was spreading globally, developed in many different forms and traditions. Almost 90% of people employed in fisheries work in coastal fishing. In 2015 the total world catch of fish, crabs, molluscs and other aquatic animals was 92.6 million tonnes. At the same time, these data refer to economic significance and ecological impact of global fishing.
The first written mention of fishing in the Adriatic for the purpose of nutrition and financial profit dates back to 995. According to some archaeological findings, exploitation of biological resources of the Adriatic started much earlier. The main branch of Croatian fisheries is small pelagics, primarily sardines (Sardina pilchardus) and anchovies (Engraulis encrasicolus) as a predominant catch. Small pelagics fishing makes up almost 92% of all fishing in Croatia and sardines are the species with traditionally largest annual catch.
Nowadays, most of the world marine stocks are overfished. Overfishing is a condition when catch rate is higher than natural growth rate of the same resource through reproduction and population survival probability. Overfishing not only harms individual species, but it also devastates the whole marine food webs and in that way damages marine ecosystems as a whole. It is estimated that 90% of demersal species in the Adriatic are overfished. However, fishing is based on exploitation of sustainable biological resources and if it is done within the limits of natural sustainability, there is a dynamic balance between increasing population factors and factors influencing its decrease. The condition of exploited species is influenced not only by fishing but also by other factors like their biological and ecological features and different environmental factors. Long-term sustainable fishing exploitation of resources is possible solely through ecosystemic approach which integrates biological, social and economic component of fishing and demands close collaboration among all participants (fishing sector, science and administration).
After decades of excessive and often unregulated economic activity, the Mediterranean Sea ecosystems and the services they provide are seriously degraded, posing a risk to the economy and the survival of people whose lives are closely related to the sea. More on assessing the Mediterranean Sea's economic value and analyzing two of the most important sectors: fisheries and tourism, read the link.