The Java Sea is a major fishing ground in Indonesia contributing 31% of the national marine fisheries production. Demersal and small pelagic fishery resources account for most production in the area. During the 1960s and 1970s, strong demand for fish, which in Indonesia resulted from both increased human population and increased per capita fish consumption, stimulated the development of fishing in the Java Sea. This led to development of up-stream and down-stream industries, increases in employment opportunities, and increases in the number of fishers and fishing households.
Thailand is currently one of the ten largest fishing nations in the world. In 1996, fish production reached 3.7 million t with 90% of the production coming from the marine fisheries sector and 10% from inland fisheries. Thai fishing operates in four fishing grounds namely, the Gulf of Thailand, the Andaman Sea, the South China Sea and the Bay of Bengal. However with the establishment of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in 1977, Thailand lost over 300 000 km2 of traditional fishing grounds.
Bangladesh has an exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of 164 000 km2 and a continental shelf area of 66 440 km2. Artisanal (small scale) fisheries extend from the coast to 40 m while industrial (commercial scale) fisheries operate beyond 40 m depth. The coastal fisheries of Bangladesh exploit a complex multi-species resource. There are 18 demersal and pelagic species, seven species of larger pelagic and 10 shrimp species that are commercially important among the fishes exploited.
Sri Lanka is an island country with a land area of 65 610 km2. With the declaration of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in 1976, the country gained sovereign rights over an ocean area of 536 000 km2 and EEZ extending from 24 to 200 nm. The continental shelf is about 26 000 km2 with an average width of around 22 km, and the coastline is 1 100 km long. The total annual fish production of Sri Lanka was 25 000 t in 1952 and 269 850 t in 1998. Major fish species caught in Sri Lankan waters are skipjack, blood fish, yellow fin tuna, mullet, shark, trevally, Spanish mackerel, prawns, lobsters.
In order to achieve sustainable fishing livelihoods in coastal communities, data on profitability of small-scale fisheries relative to fish species hauled and gear types used by fishermen is required as part of a broader fisheries management strategy. This study was undertaken with this in mind. Findings from this study suggest high rates of exploitation, in that stocks generally cannot provide for increased economic return in the face of increased investment.
Small fish are a common food and an integral part of the everyday carbohydraterich diets of many population groups in poor countries. These populations also suffer from undernutrition, including micronutrient deficiencies – the hidden hunger. Small fish species, as well as the little oil, vegetables and spices with which they are cooked enhance diet diversity. Small fish are a rich source of animal protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals.
The marine fisheries sector in Malaysia contributes significantly to the national economy in terms of income, foreign exchange and employment. In 1999, marine fisheries contributed 1.245 million t (90% of total fish production) valued at US$1.18 billion. The total value accounted for about 1.53% of national GDP and 11.31% of agricultural GDP. The export of fish and fishery products amounted to about US$210 million. The sector provided employment to about 80 000 fishers. Fisheries management is currently guided by the Third National Agricultural Policy (NAP3 1998 - 2010).