Two recent economic studies show that the costs associated with temporarily reducing or halting fishing to allow stocks to recover are far outweighed by the economic benefits of healthy fish stocks.

The new economics foundation (nef) released its report ‘No Catch Investment’ in September 2012, investigating the short-term costs of a short transition period without any fishing against potential benefits of allowing fish stocks to recover.

Based on the recovery time for 54 European stocks under a scenario that fishing would be stopped on the 1st of January 2013 – ranging from less than one year for whiting and mackerel to approximately 9 years for cod - the study suggests that with relatively small investments to compensate fishers and maintain vessels during the transition period, a positive net economic return within 10 year is possible. The results of the study show that for every British Pound invested over a 40 year period (2013-2052) a return of £14 is achieved, indicating that adequate compensation during the transitional period is very much possible.

Another study published in October by WWF, found that if the CFP reform restores sustainable landings through a 15% reduction in landings over the first three years, the EU could produce an extra 1.4-2.8m tons of fish in 2022 than is delivered today, while saving up to 35,000 jobs and contributing to a substantial increase in the incomes of fishers. The study also extrapolated the current decline of catches and jobs in the fisheries sector, leading to 1.4m less tons of fish caught and to 50,000 lost jobs by 2022 if no action is taken.

The WWF report concludes that the financial resources under the future European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) should be aimed at long-term management plans, pooling of resources, fishery-by-fishery management and regionalisation.
Both reports show that investment in fish stock restoration pays off, which should be a no-brainer for politicians currently negotiating the reform of the CFP.

 

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