Italy - Fishing
Italy's geography provides abundant access to marine fishing. Peninsular Italy and the islands of Sicily and Sardinia together have over 8,000 km (4,900 mi) of coastline and over 800 landing ports equipped for fishing boats. There are also 1,500 sq km (580 sq mi) of lagoons and 1,700 sq km (650 sq mi) of marine ponds. Although coastal and deep-sea fishing in the Mediterranean engage over 50,000 fishermen, the fishing industry is unable to meet domestic needs. As of 2000 there were 18,390 Italian fishing vessels with a fishing capacity (gross tonnage) of 207,550 tons. Since the extension of the 200-mile limit zones and the consequent drop in the total catch, Italy's fishing industry has declined because their deep-sea vessels were not suited to Mediterranean fishing. The total catch in 2000 was 439,285 tons, 98% from marine fishing. In 2000, Italy produced 80,000 tons of canned tuna and 11,000 tons of canned anchovies. The majority of the Italian fish harvest (up to 50%) is not officially recorded but sold directly to restaurants, wholesalers, and fishmongers. Anchovy, rainbow trout, sardine, and European hake are the main finfish species caught. Sponges and coral are also commercially important. The main commercial fishing ports are Mazara del Vallo, Palermo, San Benedetto del Tronto, Chioggia-Venezia, and Genoa.
There are over a thousand intensive production fish farms that belong to the Italian Fish Breeding Association, with 70% located in northern Italy. Total Italian aquaculture production in 2000 was 227,600 tons, valued at $441 million.