Industrial overfishing is not only destructing marine ecosystems that are already stretched to the limits, it also has huge economic costs, according to a new report titled Jobs Lost at sea by the UK-based New Economics Foundation (NEF). The author of the report found that a large number of jobs and high economic losses, which they estimate at £2.7 billion and 100,000 jobs, can be attributed to the depletion of fish stocks around Europe.
- Restoring these 43 stocks to their maximum sustainable yield (MSY) would generate 3.53 million tonnes of additional landings; enough to meet the annual demand of fish for almost 160 million EU citizens.
- Value of restoring fish stocks is worth £2.7 billion (€3.2 bn) per year to all countries. It is worth £1.5 billion (€1.8 bn) per year to the EU27, or almost three times its annual fishing subsidies.
- Value of restoring these fish stocks could support 100,790 new jobs, around 83,000 to the EU27 (31% more than current employment in the EU fishing sector).
- Restoring fish stocks could increase catch values from these stocks by 81% for the EU27, and more than double for most countries, including the UK (+109%) and Germany (+116%).
- Worst affected fish are cod (lost 970,000 tonnes/yr), haddock (lost 378,000 tonnes/yr), herring (lost 854,000 tonnes/yr)and whiting (lost 834,000 tonnes/yr).
Rupert Crilly, an Environmental Economics researcher at NEF, said: “Overfishing is bad for the economy. With the stroke of a pen, European fisheries ministers are wiping out millions of pounds and thousands of jobs each year by allowing overfishing to continue. [...] Restoring fish stocks is within politicians’ power. And in the current economic climate the stakes are higher than ever.”
So what are they waiting for?