Coordinating Working Party on Fishery Statistics (CWP)

Integrated environmental and economic accounting for fisheries

At present (November 2017) there is no data collection at the international level of integrated environmental and economic data for fisheries. The issue however, is getting increasing attendance and therefore the Handbook includes a short reference to this topic. The UN Statistical Committee has developed a System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) and this contains the internationally agreed standard concepts, definitions, classifications, accounting rules and tables for producing internationally comparable statistics on the environment and its relationship with the economy. The SEEA framework follows a similar accounting structure as the System of National Accounts (SNA) and uses concepts, definitions and classifications consistent with the SNA in order to facilitate the integration of environmental and economic statistics.

The need for statistics on the available resources and the status of the environment that supports these resources stems from a recognition that all economies are heavily dependent on the environment as a source of materials and energy, as a sink for waste products, and as the physical habitat for human communities. This capacity of the environment constitutes our natural capital. With regard to fisheries, for example, until recently, the System of National Accounts (SNA) recorded only the income from capture fishing, but not changes in fish stocks. This can be quite misleading when a fish stock is being over-exploited: income from over-exploitation would be recorded, but not the corresponding depletion of the fish stocks. By contrast, the SNA treats livestock quite differently, recording both production and changes in the stock so that the consequences of stock depletion, for example, during a drought year, are fully accounted for. This is due to the fact that fish stocks in the wilderness are natural assets, not subject to direct management, whereas livestock is considered as a produced asset, since the growth of the animals is enhanced and controlled by human activities.

Integrated environmental and economic accounting for fisheries requires an extensive fish stock assessment program. Such programs exist in in some regions but these programs do not cover resources globally and the data needs are beyond the scope of this Handbook, However, Section Y provides some comments. A general overview is presented to FAO/COFI bi-annually as FAO Review of the state of world marine fishery resources and is published as FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper. However, data presented in this publication are far from data required for a proper statistical account as indicated by the proposed extension to the SNA.rated is useful as per cent of pro-rated effort, not available when the data are 100 per cent recorded.

The effort may be nominal, reflecting the simple total of effort units exerted on a stock in a given time period. It may also be standard or effective when corrected to take account of differences in fishing power and efficiency and ensure direct proportionality with fishing mortality and this relates usually to a specific fishery and gear. If more than one gear is considered, standardization in relation to one of them is necessary. For biologists, a good measure of fishing effort should be proportional to fishing mortality. For economists it should be proportional to the cost of fishing.


Handbook of National Accounting: Integrated Environmental and Economic Accounting for Fisheries UN/FAO Studies Series F, No.97 (ST/ESA/STAT/SER.F/97). System of Environmental Economic Accounting 2012 - Central Framework