Published December 1, 2014 | Version v1
Journal article Open

Estimating the economic loss of recent North Atlantic fisheries management

  • 1. AZTI-Tecnalia, Herrera Kaia, Portualdea, z/g, Pasaia (Gipuzkoa) 20110, Spain
  • 2. Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Prospect Place, PL1 3DH Plymouth, UK
  • 3. Unité de Recherche Ecosystémes Marins Exploités, Avenue Jean Monnet, 34200 Séte, France
  • 4. Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada
  • 5. Ifremer, rue de l’ile d’Yeu, BP 21105, 44311 Nantes cedex 3, France
  • 6. Fisheries Economics Research Unit, Fisheries Centre, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4, Canada


It is accepted that world’s fisheries are not generally exploited at their biological or their economic optimum. Most fisheries assessments focus on the biological capacity of fish stocks to respond to harvesting and few have attempted to estimate the economic efficiency at which ecosystems are exploited. The latter is important as fisheries contribute considerably to the economic development of many coastal communities. Here we estimate the overall potential economic rent for the fishing industry in the North Atlantic to be B€ 12.85, compared to current estimated profits of B€ 0.63. The difference between the potential and the net profits obtained from North Atlantic fisheries is therefore B€ 12.22. In order to increase the profits of North Atlantic fisheries to a maximum, total fish biomass would have to be rebuilt to 108 Mt (2.4 times more than present) by reducing current total fishing effort by 53%. Stochastic simulations were undertaken to estimate the uncertainty associated with the aggregate bioeconomic model that we use and we estimate the economic loss NA fisheries in a range of 2.5 and 32 billion of euro. We provide economic justification for maintaining or restoring fish stocks to above their MSY biomass levels. Our conclusions are consistent with similar global scale studies.



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EURO-BASIN – European Union Basin-scale Analysis, Synthesis and Integration (EURO-BASIN) 264933
European Commission