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Report, 2013

Cod or clupeids?

Waldo, Staffan; Paulrud, Anton; Ringdahl, Katja; Lövgren, Johan; Bergenius, Mikaela


In the late 1980s, the cod population in the Baltic Sea declined steeply as a result of overfishing and unfavorable hydrological conditions for reproduction. Since then, restoring the Baltic cod stocks has been a major management objective in Swedish and EU fisheries policies. In addition to ecosystem benefits, restoring fish stocks is expected to have major economic consequences for the fisheries sector. The literature shows that profits from the fishery could increase by recovering the cod stock and reducing fishing pressure on herring and sprat since these are the main prey for the high valued cod. We explored the economic consequences for the Swedish fishery of fishing cod and clupeids (sprat and herring) at different total allowable catches (TAC) in the Baltic Sea. We compared profits to the fishery by studying combinations of high and low TACs of cod and sprat, respectively, based on biological scenarios. The analysis contributes to the literature by explicitly modeling how changes in the ecosystem could affect the optimal fleet structure and economic performance of different fleet segments. The Swedish fishery was used as a case study within the Baltic Sea, acknowledging that the Baltic Sea is utilized for fishing by all states in the region and that other countries might face other consequences. Further, the fishing sector is a complex industry characterized by vessels participating in multiple fisheries. Each vessel will exploit several fish stocks enabling the fisherman to choose among stocks. If the fishing possibilities change, the fisherman will look for alternative fishing activities for using the company's labor and capital assets. Thus - through rational economic decisions made by the fishing industry - a management action in one fishery will lead to effects in other fisheries that might be difficult for managers to predict. The analyses were performed using the Swedish Resource Rent Model for the Commercial Fishery, SRRMCF, which is an economic model covering the entire Swedish fishery. The main conclusions from the study were that it was more profitable to fish the three species at FMSY than at the current utilization levels and that the economic profitability could be further increased by up to 118 MSEK by increasing the cod stock at the expense of reducing sprat abundance. These effects rely on all stocks being fished at sustainable levels.



Published in

Aqua reports
2013, number: 2013:21
ISBN: 978-91-576-9192-7
Publisher: Department of Aquatic Resources, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Economics
Paulrud, Anton
Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Resources
Swedish Board of Fisheries
Bergenius, Mikaela (Bergenius Nord, Mikaela)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Aquatic Resources

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG14 Life below water

UKÄ Subject classification


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