In 2012 the world catch was 92.5 million tonnes, 2.4 million tonnes less than the year before, according to FAO data. Most of the catch was in the Pacific Ocean. The most caught species is the Peruvian anchovy (Anchoveta) like in previous years. The largest part of the world catch was caught in Asian territories, second most in the American continents and Europe was third. China fished most in 2012. Norway fished most of all European countries. Iceland was in second place in Europe, and is in the 18th place of all countries regarding quantity of catch in tonnes.

The total catch in Icelandic waters (ICES region Va) was 1.3 million tonnes in 2012, which is 1.4% of the world catch. Of this the catch by foreign vessels amounted to 69 thousand tonnes, which is 5.4% of the catch and 88% of this was capelin. The Faroe Islands, Greenland and Norway totalled 99.6% of the catch by foreign vessels around Iceland.