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Redistributing EU Fishing Quotas Could Unlock 659m Profit, 102,000 Jobs

Sustainability Economics Politics +2 more

EU - New economic analysis by the New Economics Foundation (NEF) of more than 200 EU fleets reveals the hidden potential for increased employment and profits.

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The new research finds that poor management of European fish stocks and fleet quotas is draining jobs and profits.

The new report reveals the benefits of rebuilding North Atlantic European stocks; and of re-distributing fishing quotas to fleets that are more environmentally friendly and sustain more jobs.

Current quota allocation is based on historic catch data, which typically benefits the largest and most environmentally damaging fleets. It ignores how fleet perform in economic social and environmental terms. Redistributing according to alternative economic and environmental criteria – from job creation to fuel consumption – coupled with sustainable fisheries management, would deliver higher economic benefits:

  • giving more fish quota to those fleets that generate fewer carbon emissions per tonne of fish landed would deliver an additional 14,584 jobs and save 624,000 tonnes of carbon per year over the current, default allocation.
  • giving more quota to those fleets that support more jobs per tonne of fish landed would deliver an additional102,000 jobs over the current, default allocation.

This new data was produced using the Bio-Economic Model of European Fleets (BEMEF), launched today, which has been developed over the past two years by NEF with contributions from academics and institutions across the EU. The model results analyse 221 fleets and cover 73 per cent of total EU landings.

BEMEF looks at how restoring fish stocks to sustainable levels changes a set of parameters including landings, revenues, employment, profitability, wages and carbon emissions.

BEMEF is the first model to estimate the economic impacts of re-distributing fish quota across the fleet under alternative criteria (jobs, fuel, profit, effort) than the default one based on historic share of catch.

The model also confirms the economic, environmental and societal case for restoring fish stocks to their maximum sustainable yield (MSY):

  • 2,052,639 tonnes of additional fish per year, enough to meet the annual demand of 89.2 million EU citizens
  • £1.25 billion (€1.56bn) in additional gross revenues per year
  • £659 million (€824m) in additional net profits per year
  • between 20,362 and 64,092 new jobs
  • £6,618 (€8,273) in additional wages for fisheries workers each year

According to the same model, the failure to restore fish stocks in the last five years has represented a total loss of 8.6 million tonnes of catch and £5.7 billion (€7.1 bn)

Griffin Carpenter, economic modeller at NEF and developer of BEMEF, said: “Our analysis shows that rebuilding fish stocks can simultaneously result in more jobs, more profits and higher wages. Ministers are squandering significant economic potential through their failure to sustainably manage a vital environmental resource.

“EU member states can secure more fish, more profits and more jobs if they deliver on two basic requirements of the Common Fisheries Policy: fish stock restoration and taking social and environmental criteria into account when distributing quota across the fleet. More action is needed on both fronts. While there has been improvement on the state of some fish stocks the recent December council saw EU fisheries ministers set fishing limits for 2015 above scientific advice on 63 per cent of the cases; and few if any member states are looking seriously into alternative ways of quota allocation. ”

“By making all the data, results and assumptions accessible in our new model we hope that anyone involved in EU fisheries will be able to have a more honest conversation about the impacts and trade-offs involved in rebuilding fish stocks and quota re-allocation. BEMEF has the potential to become a useful tool to guide member states towards ensuring that EU fish stocks are managed in the public interest.”