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(Un)observed scientific advice, social-ecological feedbacks and the North Sea cod stock

Villasante, S., Rodríguez-González, D., and M. Antelo (2013). Sustainability 5:1-x manuscripts.

Abstract:

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 hadfollowed the ICES 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 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 the industry followed the scientific recommendations (US$20.7 billion) or approved TACs (US$19.5 billion). Furthermore, the estimated economic value of the stock will be below that for the 2010–2022 period if catches do not follow the SRs nor the TACs approved. Even more, 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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Keywords: (Un)observed scientific advice, total allowable catches, economic value of North Sea cod (Gadus morhua) stock, Common Fisheries Policy Reform

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