EU Science Hub

Sustainability now or later? Estimating the benefits of pathways to maximum sustainable yield for EU North east Atlantic fisheries

The EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) aims to ensure that exploitation of living marine biological resources restores and maintains populations of harvested species above levels which can produce the maximum sustainable yield (MSY). To do so, the maximum sustainable yield exploitation rate (FMSY) is to be achieved by 2015 where possible and, on a progressive, incremental basis at the latest by 2020 for all stocks. Our results indicate that if Northeast Atlantic fish stocks were to be exploited at MSY, the EU fishing fleet could potentially obtain circa an additional €4.64 billion per year in profits than they would if current exploitation rates were maintained. Furthermore, we present the potential profitability to the EU fishing fleet of setting total allowable catches (TACs) in line with FMSY from 2016 or from 2020. If FMSY is achieved for all stocks in 2016, the profit’s net present value to the EU North Atlantic fleet over the period 2016-2035 is estimated to be more than 31% higher than it would be if FMSY is only achieved by 2020.