New research by the University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre, with support from the Pew Environment Group, for the first time quantifies the social and economic value of fish around the world. It also attempts to calculate the loss of revenue and protein sources from overfishing.
Published online in four papers, the research finds that fisheries contribute between US$225 – $240 billion per year to the global economy. However the researchers calculated if fisheries were more sustainable, the amount of money generated could be higher by up to $36 billion. Moreover they concluded that healthier fisheries could have prevented malnourishment in almost 20 million people in poor countries.
One of the four papers focuses on fisheries subsidies. It concludes that of the approximately $27 billion in financial incentives spent by governments to support fisheries, 60 percent goes to support unsustainable fishing practices.
“Maintaining healthy fisheries makes good economic sense, while overfishing is clearly bad business” said Raschid Sumaila, from the Fisheries Centre, who lead the study.
Summaries (PDF) of the four papers: