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.
Fish production in Vietnam increased rapidly from 420 000 t in 1981 to 1 130 680 t in 1998. Likewise, there was an expansion in the number of motorized fishing boats from 29 584 units with an average horsepower (HP) of 19.8 boat-1 in 1981 to 71 800 units with an average HP of 26.2 in 1998. In 1995, fish production was valued at VN$2 475 billion (US$0.02 billion at 1 US$ = 11 041 VN$; source: oanda. com).
Hilsa was once abundantly available in the 100 rivers of Bangladesh. Fishermen used to catch plenty of hilsa which were sold fresh to the local and urban markets. It was a cheap fish and was affordable even to the poor. However, its population has declined significantly over the last 30 years. Such a decline in catches prompted the government of Bangladesh to declare four sites in the country's coastal rivers as hilsa sanctuaries restricting fishing during the breeding season.
Fish production in Malaysia increased steadily at 4.5% per annum from 801 000 t in 1985 to 1 280 906 t in 1997. Most of the production was contributed by marine capture fisheries, amounting to 1 168 973 t (91% of total production) in 1997, while the rest (132 700 t or 8%) came from inland fisheries and aquaculture. About 72% of the marine landings, or 837 574 t, were from Peninsular Malaysia while the rest were from the states of Sabah, Sarawak, and the Federal Territory Labuan.