December 27, 2016

Photo: Flore de Preneuf / World Bank

As of November 2018, the PROFISH trust fund is now part of the World Bank's Program for the Blue Economy (PROBLUE) umbrella program.

Governance of fisheries and aquaculture has been weak around the world, and this has resulted in an excess of capacity in the fishing industry, overfishing‚ and a vast loss of economic returns. Fish products have also become the object of extensive international trade‚ mostly from poor countries to wealthier ones. There is a substantial opportunity to improve livelihoods by capturing the "Sunken Billions"—or the forgone economic benefits of capture fisheries, estimated in the $80 billion range annually—and increasing the supply from aquaculture systems. Capitalizing on this opportunity can improve food and nutrition security for hundreds of millions of people. It can also increase our ability to adapt to climate change.

Who We Are

The Global Program on Fisheries, known as "PROFISH," was established with key donors and stakeholders to engage the World Bank in improving environmental sustainability, human wellbeing, and economic performance in the world’s fisheries and aquaculture, with a focus on the welfare of the poor in fisheries and fish farming communities in the developing world.

The mission of PROFISH is to promote and facilitate the contribution that fisheries and aquaculture can make to poverty reduction, sustainable economic growth‚ better nutrition and economic opportunities for women.

What We Do

PROFISH seeks to accomplish this mission by:

  • Designing and implementing good governance systems through World Bank investments and international partnerships; and
  • Providing information‚ knowledge products and expertise to help ensure that fisheries and aquaculture create sustainable wealth and reduce poverty.


Poor governance and environmental degradation of fisheries habitats are primary causes of overexploited‚ unsustainable fisheries and poverty in fishery-dependent communities. Improved governance can result in sustainable improvements in communities, ecosystems, and economies.

Aquaculture is a new and rapidly growing fish supply source‚ offering a range of important economic opportunities. Like any rapidly growing industry‚ aquaculture also faces serious challenges. It has experienced ‘boom and bust’ cycles and environmental problems. However‚ with improved governance‚ thoughtful planning and access to information‚ technology and capital‚ aquaculture can overcome these problems.

Working with Partners

PROFISH is a programming and funding partnership between key fishery and aquaculture sector donors, international financial institutions, developing countries, stakeholder organizations, and international agencies. PROFISH has received financial and in-kind support from the UK, Iceland, France, New Zealand, Norway and Finland (through TFESSD), Japan, USA, FAO and the World Bank. The growing partnership includes regional economic organizations representing developing countries, including the African Union and the ASEAN Secretariat. Other PROFISH partners include FAO, IUCN, WorldFish, IFPRI, OECD, USAID, NOAA/NFMS, NEPAD, Strategic Partnership for Fisheries in Africa, Rare, CI, WWF, EDF, ICFA/ALLFISH, GAA and ISSF. PROFISH played a lead role in coordinating the Blue Ribbon Panel and its report "Indispensable Ocean." The Bank is seeking to expand its Program for Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (PROFISH+) to support innovation and reform in ocean financing, technology and governance.


Key PROFISH Publications



Global Analysis






Climate Change

Read more publications on fisheries