Fisherman emptying net full of fish into hold on trawler
Photo Credit: Monty Rakusen via Getty Images.


Global Fishing Index

An independent assessment of country-level progress towards achieving UN Sustainable Development Goal 14.4 to effectively regulate harvesting, end overfishing and restore fish stocks to sustainable levels.

What is the Global Fishing Index?

The Global Fishing Index is a global study of the health of fish stocks and state of fisheries governance in maritime countries around the world.

The Global Fishing Index includes two components: an estimate of aggregate fish stock biomass on a country-by-country basis and an assessment of the capacity for fisheries governance for eliminating overfishing within a country’s marine jurisdiction.

This index complements current efforts to track progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 14.4 by expanding the scope, resolution and availability of fisheries data at the national level. Understanding the state of fishery resources and the effect of governance at this level is the first step toward identifying bright spots, as well as critical areas for improvement at a national, regional and global scale.

Why the world needs this index

A flourishing ocean is one which is teeming with life, where diverse ecosystems thrive and can be used to support human communities through the provision of food, nutrition, recreation and income. Fisheries play a key role in achieving this vision of a flourishing ocean, yet many resources have been fished beyond sustainable levels, jeopardising the health of ocean ecosystems and the livelihoods of those dependent on them.

Despite recognition that overfishing is a widespread problem, many countries have limited information available with which to assess fishery outcomes. This makes it difficult to determine the scale of the problem or identify potential solutions. The Global Fishing Index addresses this gap by compiling the best available data sources globally to develop a comprehensive picture of global fisheries.

Our method

We believe that better information leads to better decisions. To achieve SDG 14.4, we need a better understanding of the state of fish stocks around the world and the capacity for governments and the fishing industry to address overfishing and promote sustainable practices.

To improve data resolution at the national scale, we have partnered with leading marine researchers at the Sea Around Us initiative located at the University of British Colombia and the University of Western Australia, who are working to compile information on fisheries catch and stock biomass for maritime countries around the world.

A key step in ending overfishing is understanding how policy contributes towards the sustainable use of fishery resources. As part of the GFI, we are undertaking empirical research into the connection between governance and overfishing, with the aim of identifying what interventions are working and how to best focus efforts to improve fishery outcomes.

As part of this research, we are collecting information to characterise fisheries governance in over 140 countries. This assessment will be used to track government and industry responses to end overfishing and name and encourage action towards a more sustainable future.

How you can help

We are currently collecting data to inform our first edition of the Global Fishing Index, which will be released in the second half of 2021. If you are interested in participating in the Global Fishing Index or would like more information, please contact us at

Contact us if you have research or data to share that you think may be relevant to the Global Fishing Index.

Our target
  • The first edition of the Global Fishing Index will be published in the second half of 2021.

Project members

Adam Jolly
Research Analyst
Abiyoso Purnomosakti
Research Analyst
Alex McLennan
Research Analyst
Asha McNeill
Jemma Turner
Senior Research Analyst
Julia Santana-Garcon
Kendra Thomas Travaille
GFI Research Manager
Megan Cundy
Research Analyst
Vyv Summers
Research Analyst