STOP fishing in the Atlantic for a decade and you will boost profits for a lifetime. At least, that’s the conclusion reached by a UK-based think tank, which says that paying the fishing industry to keep its boats on dry land while stocks recover makes good economic sense.
The New Economics Foundation examined 49 overfished fish stocks in the north-east Atlantic. NEF concluded that if all fishing were stopped, stocks would recover within 10 years, depending on how fast the species reproduce. Equivalent salaries for this period would cost €10.56 billion ($13.81 billion).
However, larger catches from recovered fish stocks when the moratorium ended would recoup those costs within 4.6 years. Assuming the stocks were then fished sustainably, the larger yields would generate €139 billion of extra revenue within 40 years of the start of the ban, according to the NEF report.
In reality the costs would be higher, because the report doesn’t consider job losses in the fish-processing sector, says Callum Roberts at the University of York, UK. But he says temporarily stopping fishing would probably still work out financially in the long run.