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Tietze, U.; Prado, J.; Le Ry, J-M.; Lasch, R.
Techno-economic performance of marine capture fisheries and the role of economic incentives,value addition and changes of fleet structure. Findings of a global study and an interregional workshop.
FAO Fisheries Technical Paper. o. 421. Rome, FAO. 2001. 80 p.


The Fisheries Technical Paper summarises the findings of 15 country level studies on the economic and financial performance of marine capture fisheries conducted in 1999 and 2000. The studies validate the findings of surveys carried out between 1995 and 1997 and published in FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 377. Out of the 108 types of fishing vessels studied in 15 South American/Caribbean, European, African and Asian countries, 105 or 97 % had a positive gross cash flow and fully recovered their cost of operation. Only three types of vessels i.e. stow-netters in China and semi- industrial and industrial shrimp and bottom fish trawlers in Trinidad and Tobago showed operational losses. When also considering the cost of capital i.e. the cost of depreciation and interest, 92 out of the 108 types of vessels or 85 % showed a net profit after deducting the cost of depreciation and interest. In the 10 countries, which participated in the previous as well as in the recent study, two countries showed marked improvements in the profitability of their fishing vessels i.e. France and Spain while two countries showed a declining profitability i.e. the Peoples Republic of China and Germany. In the remaining six countries i.e. the Republic of Korea, Indonesia, India, Senegal, Argentina and Peru, the situation was similar as during the previous study carried out between 1995 and 1997. These overall positive results were also achieved because of higher prices paid to producers as compared to the previous study period. There were only few indications that fishing effort had been reduced and fish stocks had recovered. It was also observed that some fishing fleets had adapted themselves to new conditions dictated by depleted and changing abundance of resources and new access to markets in the context of globalisation by changing their fishing operations. Those vessels, which had previously shown positive results but now incurred losses, were generally older vessels due to the fact that they continued to work on overexploited stocks.

Regarding the impact of Government financial transfers it was found that in two countries, belonging to the European Union and in India, almost all types of vessels covered by the cost and earnings study, which received subsidies, would also have been profitable without subsidies. In the Republic of Korea, the situation was mixed while in Thailand, those types of vessels. which could avail themselves of tax exemptions on fuel needed the tax exemption in order to have a positive gross cash flow. No subsidies were available in Indonesia. In the case of other countries it was observed that no detailed empirical information was available neither on the amount of Government financial transfers to the fishing industry nor on the financial performance of individual fishing enterprises. There is a need to collect and analyse information on the quantity and impact of Government financial transfers on the economic performance of fishery enterprises with a view to reduce and rationalise the use of scarce Government financial resources and to avoid that subsidies have a negative impact on fisheries resources, on the coastal environment and on trade.

With a view to identify economically more efficient ways of utilisation of catches and to provide guidance, particularly to fishery industries of developing countries, it is suggested that further monitoring and analysis should focus on utilisation of catch and marketing of fishery products.

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