Preparation of The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2022 started in April 2021. It is the work of a 12-member editorial board representing the various teams of the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Division (NFI), guided by a core executive group of the NFI Information and Knowledge Management Team and a representative of the FAO Office of Communications. Chaired by the Director of NFI, the editorial board met regularly to develop and refine the structure and content, review progress and address emerging issues. This work benefited from wider consultation among the FAO teams in charge of the five FAO flagship publications.

Between May and June 2021, topics and contributors were proposed for consideration by the editorial board, which developed and refined the outline, involving virtually all officers in the division and some from other FAO divisions, with FAO decentralized officers contributing regional insights and stories. Notably, the board drew inspiration from high-level global events, starting from the recommendations of the Thirty-fourth Session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries, enshrined in its Declaration for Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture, which calls on Members “to support an evolving and positive vision for fisheries and aquaculture in the twenty-first century, where the sector is fully recognized for its contribution to fighting poverty, hunger and malnutrition.”

The editorial board expanded the 2020 three-tiered structure of the publication, with a view to thoroughly addressing Blue Transformation. Under Parts 2 and 3, Blue Transformation anchors this edition at the centre of the FAO Strategic Framework 2022–2031 in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, with a focus on the United Nations “Decades”, namely the Decade of Action to deliver the Global Goals, the Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and the Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. Furthermore, preparation of the draft took place during a period of unprecedented challenges driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, which caused temporary and permanent structural changes in the sector. The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2022 attempts to address the changes that are likely to become mainstream as the fisheries and aquaculture sector emerges from the crisis.

With these ingredients in hand, the editorial board adopted a structure in four parts. Part 1, World Review, owing to its historical high readership, was maintained. Part 2, Towards Blue Transformation, focuses on issues coming to the fore in 2021–2022. It examines the key challenges of the three pillars underpinning Blue Transformation, namely expansion and intensification of aquaculture production to satisfy growing demand, improvement of fisheries management to deliver healthy stocks, and upgrading and innovation of fisheries and aquaculture value chains. Part 3 explores pathways for concrete actions during the decade – focusing on the relevant Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets, the need for scientific development and innovation, and the mainstreaming of ecosystem restoration and biodiversity – to enable Blue Transformation to effectively support achieving the Global Goals. Part 4 covers emerging issues and projections (outlook). In addition, this 2022 edition includes, for the first time, an Executive Summary, which covers the entire publication and not only the global trends.

On the basis of the revised structure, various editorial board members were assigned the leadership of a thematic section. Most contributions were prepared by FAO authors, in collaboration with external experts where appropriate (see Acknowledgements).

In July 2021, a summary was prepared with the inputs of all section leaders and revised based on feedback from the editorial board. The summary document was submitted to NFI’s management, then to the FAO Deputy Director-General (Natural Resources and Sustainable Development stream) for approval in mid-July 2021. This document formed the blueprint guiding authors in the drafting of the publication.

Parts 2, 3 and 4 were drafted between September 2021 and January 2022 and edited for technical and language content. In Part 3, the SDG section was finalized in March to allow integration of the most recent data (February 2022) from the United Nations Statistics Division regarding the four SDG 14 indicators under FAO custodianship. In February–March, these parts were submitted in batches for translation into FAO’s six official languages and for review by the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Division and the editorial board.

Part 1, World Review, is based on FAO’s official fisheries and aquaculture statistics. To reflect the most up-to-date statistics available, drafting began in November 2021 and ended in February–March 2022 upon annual closure of the various thematic databases in which the data are structured. The statistics are the outcome of an established programme to ensure the most reliable information, including assistance to enhance countries’ capacity to collect and submit data according to international standards. The process is one of careful collation, revision and validation. In the absence of national reporting, FAO makes estimates based on the best data available from other sources or through standard methodologies.

Developments in recent decades in fisheries and aquaculture, characterized by the sector’s increasing role in food security, human nutrition and trade, have been accompanied by a major expansion of the associated terminology. This has necessitated a thorough review to ensure coherence throughout The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture 2022 and the use of clear and intuitive terms as defined by authoritative sources of FAO or others. A working group was set up to complete this task and a Glossary was elaborated to assist authors, editors and readers.

An advanced draft was externally reviewed in March 2022 by three well-known experts in the area of fisheries and aquaculture. A final draft was approved by the Office of the FAO Deputy Director-General (Natural Resources and Sustainable Development stream) and the Office of the FAO Director-General.

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