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Sole & Plaice Fisheries Can Be More Profitable

NETHERLANDS - The Dutch flatfish fleet currently comprises too many ships to be able to make a profit under current conditions. However, new research shows that sole and plaice fisheries can become more profitable.

The 306 ships currently used to catch species including sole and plaice bring costs that are as high as the revenues.

Partly as a result of this, it is difficult to make investments and the transition to more sustainable fishing is therefore slowed.

Research by LEI, part of Wageningen UR, entitled A study on overcapacity in the Dutch flatfish sector showed that both efficient and inefficient ships have been operating at or just under the break-even point in recent years (i.e. the point at which costs equal revenues).

Estimate Given the expected fish populations in the sea, LEI has estimated price movements and drawn up a number of stylised scenarios for the development in catches and in the size of the fleet.

With the expected fish stocks, a fleet of between 300 and 360 ships could operate at this break-even point in the future.

If the fleet were to shrink, the remaining ships could make 50,000 to 350,000 more profit than under todays conditions. Under favourable conditions, just 100 to 200 ships would be required to catch the permitted quantity of flatfish.

Farmed fish

As a result of the economic crisis, the prices of plaice have fallen because there are cheap alternatives in the form of a wide range of farmed fish.

This does not apply to sole, and the prospects for sole are therefore more favourable.

the Fish Site Editor

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