On the Non-Compliance in the North Sea Cod Stock
This paper estimates the economic value of the North Sea cod ( Gadus morhua ) stock under recent catch and several recovery scenarios. The research presents results on: a) what the value of catches and biomass would have been if the EU fishing fleet had followed the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea scientific recommendations (SRs) and Total Allowable Catches (TACs) in the 1986–2010 period; and b) what the value of catches and biomass will be for the 2010–2022 period if the fleet follows the current Common Fisheries Policy Reform (CFPR). Results show that the actual economic value of the stock for the 1986–2010 period has been US$7 billion, which is substantially lower than what would have been predicted had the industry followed the SRs (US$20.7 billion) or approved TACs (US$19.5 billion). Similarly, if catches do not follow the SRs or the approved TACs for the 2010–2022 period the estimated economic value of the stock is predicted to be lower than if they had done so. Further, the losses of non-compliance increase even when a scenario of 50% reduction of discards under the new CFPR is considered. We also show that the status of the stock is strongly dependent on the trade-offs generated by both the non-compliance of scientific recommendations and by the short-term economic incentives of the fishing industry. With most fishery resources fully exploited or overexploited in Europe, opportunities for development lie primarily in restoring depleted stocks and catching fish more efficiently, as is the case of the North Sea cod stock.
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