Tuna school. (Photo: nef, www.neweconomics.org)
Restocking fish stocks could generate huge returns: report
Saturday, September 15, 2012, 02:30 (GMT + 9)
Research published this week by the think tank New Economics Foundation (nef) has found that restoring European fish stocks could yield huge returns on investment (ROI).
The report offers several key findings:
- Most overfished stocks could be fully restored within five years, with a few needing four more;
- Investing GBP 9.16 billion (EUR 11.4 billion) in restoring fish stocks would generate GBP 4.43 billion (EUR 5.5 billion) in profit by 2023;
- After stocks are restored, the total value of landings would almost triple;
- The ROI of restoring fish stocks is 148 per cent by 2023;
- By 2052, the returns are GBP 14 (EUR 17.5 ) for every GBP 1 (EUR 1.25) invested.
A new report by nef, 'No Catch Investment,' determined that the costs of restoring fish stocks are far outweighed by the economic benefits in both the short and long term.
The costs of restoring fish stocks are estimated by assuming that a temporary moratoria is placed on overfished stocks. Of 54 stocks studied, 49 are overfished.
If each of the 49 overfished stocks were no longer fished from 1 January 2013, the fish supply could be higher than current levels within four years; most fish stocks could be fully rebuilt within five years including Icelandic cod, all hake, mackerel and whiting; and all fish stocks, including North Sea cod, could be fully restored within 10 years.
To ensure a temporary pause in fishing does not hurt fishers, the following steps are needed:
- GBP 10.4 billion (EUR 12.97 billion) of investment over 9.4 years;
- These costs should come from private funds. Public funding should be targeted towards creating a favourable context for this investment to happen;
- Rebuilding fish stocks should remove the need for subsidies to fishers after 2023.
The report states that this investment would ensure "zero unemployment" among fishers and protect against depreciation of their vessels, BBC reports.
If fish stocks are restored to their Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) by 2023 at the latest, all investment costs are recovered within 4.6 years, with each year, thereafter, seeing a net benefit on the investment.
Within the first 40 years (2013-2052), the returns are GBP 14 (EUR 17.5) for every GBP 1 (EUR 1.25) invested and after stocks are restored, the total value of landings would almost triple, generating GBP 14.62 billion (EUR 18.23 billion) in revenue each year. Over a 40-year period (2013-2052), the current-value profit from investing now is GBP 120.2 billion (EUR 149.9 billion), with restoration delivering twice the value of catches [GBP 260 billion (EUR 324.3 billion)] as without.
“Continued overfishing is bad for European economies. Restoring fish stocks means more jobs, more income for coastal communities, and less industry reliance on subsidies from taxpayers. It makes perfect economic and environmental sense,” Aniol Esteban, Head of Environmental Economics at nef, said.
But Barry Deas, chief executive of the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations (NFFO), disagreed.
"I don't think it makes sense at any level: biological, economic or political," he said. "On the whole, we are already moving towards maximum sustainable yields so why would it make sense to spend these huge amounts of money?"
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By Natalia Real