Coordinating Working Party on Fishery Statistics (CWP)

Fisheries production

Fisheries production core variables

The core variables identified for fisheries are restricted to only two items as they are the most widely available. The core variables to be collected are:

  • Gross value of landings
  • Employment.

Gross value of landings

The gross value of the landings is normally collected together with landing statistics (e.g. from fish auctions or from sales slips). In order to establish the link to the catch statistics (refer catch and landings) these data should preferably be broken down by the same variables as the catch data (species, area, year, fleet segment, etc.) and use the ex-vessel value per unit (price) for the first sale.

Note that it is recommended that the basic economic variables be recorded in national currencies. In the case that reporting is made in USD (or another currency) the exchange rate, source and date should be included in the metadata to ensure consistency.  The suggested exchange rate source is FAO (refer currencies and funds).


Employment in fisheries should be collected in sex-disaggregated form. A further note should be made that the term fisher (refer also ISCO-08) should not only include those operating from fishing vessels but also those fishers operating land-based fishing gears and/or from shore foot-fishing without the use of boats. Where possible, a breakdown by the type of activity by classification should be included with the employment data.

The number of fishers that are reported by the national statistics should follow the same flag principle that is followed when recording the catch and landing statistics. In other words, the statistics should reflect the number of fishers that are engaged in producing the landings recorded in accordance with the guidelines on the nationality of catch and landings. Therefore, fishers of a coastal state working on foreign vessels landing in this coastal state’s ports should be excluded from the data. The data should show, preferably separately, the national fishers working on foreign vessels chartered to national companies.

Classification of occupations - To define employment for fishers, the sub-section of the ISCO classification relevant to fisheries and aquaculture should be used. This sub-section is included in Annex 1a.

Time-use definition – can be made either by full-time equivalent (FTE), the total number of people or following the FAO FM questionnaire standard. For some purposes, the conversion of the employment data as FTE may be useful. Some experience exists in the collation of FTE data in Europe (Sabatella, 2016). However, in many situations it is the actual number of people engaged that is relevant and fisheries are subject to strong seasonal variation in employment based on the characteristics of the fisheries.

Full-time equivalent (FTE) - FTE national should be calculated using a national reference level defined according to the features of the fishery sector, often 2000 hours annually. If the annual working hours per crew member is equal to or greater than the reference level, the FTE equals 1 per crew member, i.e.

  • if annual working hours ≥ national reference level, then FTE national = 1

If the annual working hours per crew member is below the reference level, the FTE per crew member is the fraction (annual working hours)/(national reference level), i.e.

  • if annual working hours < national reference level, then FTE national = (annual working hours)/(national reference level).

Fisheries production additional variables

The additional variables allow for the calculation of total revenue and total costs for the fishing operations. This allows derivation of the economic profitability of the fishing sector which is judged from information on the net revenue (net revenue= total revenue – total costs) of the sector. The fleet characteristics can be summarized by the calculation of capital value and, lastly, the salary of the fishers engaged in fishing provides a tangible measure of the contribution to livelihoods from this activity and is measured through remuneration.

Partial data on fishing effort is required either from complementary catch and effort surveys or collected as part of a stand-alone socio-economic survey in order to determine the number of fishing trips and the number of days at sea. This information can lend informative value to the calculation of economic performances indicators so that variables like the revenue or costs can be expressed per fishing day or fishing trip in addition to the total annual values.

Total revenue

The variable group of total revenue is composed by several variables.

  1. Gross value of landings - part of the core variables (see description above).
  2. Revenue from leasing out quota or other fishing rights where individual transferable quotas (ITQ) or similar systems have established fishing rights that are privately owned.
  3. Direct subsidies including direct payments (e.g. compensation for stopping fishing, refunds of fuel duty or similar lump sum compensation payments), excluding social benefit payments and indirect subsidies (e.g. reduced duty on inputs such as fuel, investment subsidies). Direct subsidies are discussed by OECD (e.g. fisheries support estimate materials). There is no agreed CWP standard for the calculation of these subsidies.
  4. Other revenue, including other revenue from use of the vessel (e.g. recreational fishing, tourism, oil rig duty, etc.), or also insurance payments for damage/loss of gear/vessel.

Total Costs

The variable group of total costs is composed of several variables. Cost data can be obtained from the financial records of the fishing enterprises and these data are mostly difficult to obtain. Even when such data are available, they are often protected by various access restrictions based on confidentiality needs.  Data collection through surveys is recommended, overall and this sidesteps issues of data confidentiality. 

  1. Personnel costs - Paid labour of the crew (including social security costs); and the estimated value of unpaid labour. Often labour is paid by a share of the net revenue of the landings.
  2. Variable costs for fishing including: energy costs; other operational costs; commercial costs, repair and maintenance costs.
  3. Fixed costs include items such as license renewals; quota lease; bank or accounting costs; vessel insurance, etc.
  4. Investments are the improvements made to a fishing vessel or fishing gear that aims to improve the longevity of the assets but are not consumed within the given year. In other words, these are items that are not consumed in the course of one year.
  5. Capital costs include annual depreciation and opportunity costs which are both intangible costs, without an implied outflow of cash.

Capital value

Capital value includes two key components: the value of physical capital (the fleet and gears considering depreciation or historical value) and the value of quota and other fishing rights (the immaterial capital).

According to the definition of Capital Value included in the DCF (Commission Decision 2010/93/EU, Appendix VI), the capital value should represent the depreciated replacement value of the physical capital estimated through the PIM methodology.


Remuneration provides an important and clear estimation of the contribution to livelihood gained from employment in the sector. The total remuneration includes social security costs for all crew members either including or excluding the owner. Although this value may be collected in the same manner as for personnel costs, frequently it is paid through some form of a crew-share calculation and then it is best calculated separately for improved accuracy and ease of collection.


International Labour Organization (ILO). 2012. International Standard Classification of Occupations
ISCO-08 Volume 1 Structure, group definitions and correspondence tables. Geneva, ILO. 420 pp. (also available at

Onlus, I. 2006. Evaluation of the capital value, investments and capital costs in the fisheries sector. No FISH/2005/03. 203 pp. (also available at

Pinello, D., Gee, J. & Polymeros, K. 2018. An unconventional approach to estimating crew remuneration in fisheries. Marine Policy 87: 226-233. (also available at

Sabatella, E.C. 2016. Methodologies for the socio-economic data described in EU MAP. Ad hoc contract Commitment No. SI2 725 694. Ref. Ares (2016)2440332 - 26/05/2016. 34 pp. (also available at