Groupe de travail chargé de coordonner les statistiques des pêches (CWP)

Integrated environmental and economic accounting for fisheries

At present there is no comprehensive 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 some regions but these programs do not cover resources globally and the data needs are beyond the scope of this Handbook. A general overview is presented to FAO/COFI bi-annually as The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA), the flagship publication of the FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department. 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.


United Nations. 2014. System of Environmental Economic Accounting 2012 - Central Framework. UN/FAO Studies Series F, No. 109 (ST/ESA/STAT/SER.F/109). New York, UN. 346 pp. (also available at

Resources for integrated environmental and economic accounting for fisheries

Ottaviani, D., Tsuji, S. & De Young, C. 2016. Lessons learned in water accounting: the fisheries and aquaculture perspective in the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) framework. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper No. 599. Rome, FAO. 64 pp. (also available at