Important legal notice
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Fisheries and Aquaculture
Fisheries and Aquaculture - Towards sustainable development of fishing and aquaculture activities
“Towards cost-effective fishery enforcement methods.”

The problem

Fisheries enforcement is often costly compared to the value of the fisheries. Enforcement costs need to be taken into account when setting management measures. Fisheries management is traditionally focused on setting targets (e.g. catches) instead of trying to set the right level of enforcement taking into account the associated costs. A consistent theory and empirically tested model to help managers set the optimal level of enforcement for a given fishery and a given mix of enforcement tools is missing.

COBECOS  A more cost-effective approach to fishery enforcement


COBECOS will conduct what amounts to a cost-benefit analysis of control schemes for management strategies relevant to the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). It will:

  • Propose an appropriate basic theory of fisheries enforcement
  • Conduct empirical research through case studies focusing in particular on the management and enforcement structures of selected fisheries
  • Develop software to model fishers’ responses to changes in enforcement regimes and intensity
  • Implement the empirical descriptions of the selected fisheries in the computer model
  • Run simulations for each fishery to determine the costs and benefits of alternative enforcement schemes, understand the effect of enforcement on compliance, estimate the impacts of increased penalties, and evaluate the cost-effectiveness of alternative management measures taking enforcement into account

Contribution to policy development:

  • COBECOS will help fishery managers to make more reliable estimates of the costs and benefits of different fishery enforcement policies, enabling them to put in place the appropriate regimen.
  • Its advise on more cost-effective enforcement regimes will help mitigate biological and economic problems afflicting European fisheries.
  • COBECOS will contribute to the EU meeting its international treaty obligations.

Project deliverables

  • Case studies to collect data on nine different fisheries – February 2008
  • Fisheries enforcement: basic theoretical model and its application to case studies – August 2008
  • Compliance, private benefit and past enforcement cost for each case study – November 2008
  • Estimates of theoretical enforcement relationships for each fishery – February 2009
  • On-line software package to evaluate the costs and benefits of enforcement – August 2009
  • Reports on the enforcement model and simulation outcomes for each fishery – July 2009
  • Final conclusions and recommendations – August 2009


  • Project website to provide information on objectives, participants and progress – updated regularly
  • Newsletters – as required
  • Presentation of project progress at workshops, seminars and conferences – as opportunities allow
  • Publication of significant findings and conclusions in international peer-reviewed journals – as opportunities allow

Technical information

Project acronym: COBECOS
Project’s official full title: Costs and Benefits of Control Strategies
Research priority: Modernisation and sustainability of fisheries, including aquaculture-based production systems
Specific webpage:
Proposal/contract no: 044153
Start date: February 2007
Kick off meeting: February 2007
Completion date: August 2009
European Commission scientific officer: Jacques Fuchs,

Coordinator: Professor Ragnar Arnason
Name: Institute of Economic Studies University of Iceland
Abbreviated name: IoES
Address: Aragata 14, 101 Reykjavík
Country: Iceland
Tel: +354 525 4539
Fax: +354 525 4096


Name: European Commission Joint Research Centre
Abbreviated name: JRC
Country: EU

Name: Fundación AZTI
Abbreviated name: AZTI
Country: Spain

Name: Centre for Marine Law and Economics – Université de Bretagne Occidentale
Abbreviated name: CEDEM
Country: France

Name: L'Istituto di Ricerche Economiche per la Pesca e l'Acquacoltura 
Abbreviated name: IREPA
Country: Italy

Name: Department of Environmental and Business Economics, University of Southern Denmark
Abbreviated name: USD
Country: Denmark

Name: Institute of Food and Resource Economics, the Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University
Abbreviated name: FOI
Country: Denmark

Name: Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration
Abbreviated name: NHH
Country: Norway

Name: Agricultural Economics Research Institute
Abbreviated name: LEI
Country: the Netherlands

Name: Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science
Abbreviated name: CEFAS
Country: United Kingdom

Name: Centre for the Economics and Management of Aquatic Resources
Abbreviated name: CEMARE
Country: United Kingdom

Name: Imperial College London
Abbreviated name: IC
Country: United Kingdom