This goal assesses our ability to sustainably maximize wild-caught fisheries.
The current score indicates that most regions are significantly below their sustainable target values. Many regions are jeopardizing future catch with overharvesting, while a few are not producing as much wild-caught seafood as they could.
The global score has, on average, dropped nearly one tenth of a point every year since 2012. This modest decline is due mainly to the decreasing sustainability of some fisheries, which means many stocks are being overfished. In fact, the Global Fishing Index found that nearly half of assessed fish in 2018 were overfished. However, there still remain many data gaps for stock assessments globally.
Over the past 10 years, there has been a slight increase (~1%) in fish catch (2009/2010 vs. 2017/2018). However, the differences in catch are drastically different across regions, ranging from 200% more to 1% less, which can produce many different outcomes for fish stocks depending on the status of the stock (underfished, fully exploited, overfished). 120 of the 220 regions included in OHI have a fisheries score less than 50. Small island nations tend to have high scores, and Macquarie Island is the highest scoring region for the fisheries subgoal in 2021.
The United States has seen a modest decrease in the fisheries score since 2015, because since then we have seen a decrease in the amount of catch coming from fully exploited stocks, and a near constant amount coming from overfished stocks. A large proportion of catch in the United States comes from the Alaska Pollock (~32%), which is considered an underfished stock. However, OHI does not penalize regions for harvesting underfished stocks, so this does not harm the fisheries score for the United States.