Coordinating Working Party on Fishery Statistics (CWP)

Socio-economic data acquisition carried out by International Organizations involved in data collection and represented in the CWP

European Union

Since 2000, an EU framework for the collection and management of fisheries data is in place. This framework was firstly reformed in 2008 resulting in the Data Collection Framework (DCF) and amended lately in 2016 and 2017 to further refine data collection programmes for the period 2017-2019. Under this framework the EU Member States (MS) collect, manage and make available a wide range of fisheries data needed for scientific advice. In addition to biological and environmental data, social and economic data on fisheries and aquaculture enterprises shall enable the assessment of the social and economic performance of the Union fisheries and aquaculture sector.

The detailed list of the socio-economic variables and the details of the data collection are defined by the Commission Decision Commission Decision of 12 July 2016 (2016/1251/EU): Adopting a multiannual Union programme for the collection, management and use of data in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors for the period 2017-2019

Table 7 ‘Economic variables for the aquaculture sector’ outline the socio-economic data to be collected for the European aquaculture sector of the COMMISSION IMPLEMENTING DECISION (EU) 2016/1251 of 12 July 2016 adopting a multiannual Union programme for the collection, management and use of data in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors for the period 2017-2019 (notified under document C(2016) 4329)


 The FAO has developed a document titled the ‘Handbook for fisheries socio-economic sample survey – principles and practice’ for the collection of socio-economic data with a standardized questionnaire and sampling methodology set out for member states. It provides a practical kit of tested and standardized tools for the collection of the most pertinent data required for a socio-economic assessment of a fishery.
The handbook consists of three parts: an introduction to the theory behind setting up a survey; a comprehensive explanation of the data collection process, including a section on operational steps; and an explanation of how to use indicators to interpret and present the results of a sample survey to stakeholders, and monitor the fishery.

Pinello, D., Gee, J. & Dimech, M. 2017. Handbook for fisheries socio-economic sample survey – principles and practice. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper No. 613. Rome, FAO.


Data Collection Reference Framework (DCRF) - Task VI: Socio-economic

The objective of the GFCM DCRF Task VI on Socio-economic data is to collect information in order to monitor the economic status of the fishing sector. Data collected under this task are needed to develop appropriate policies and strategies, especially in relation to promoting the long-term sustainability of resources and fleets.

Economic data can help to explain fisher behaviour and the overexploitation of fisheries resources. The species that fishers target, the level of exploitation, and the gear that they use are all influenced by the benefits they receive (i.e. the revenue) and the costs they incur.

The systematic collection of socio-economic data is necessary so as to assess the economic consequences of different management options on the varying groups, based on the incentives that these create. Economics provide a framework for the optimal allocation of marine resources for the benefit of society. It provides an approach to valuing the different activities, allowing trade-offs between activities to be assessed and impacts to be measured in a consistent manner.

Under Task VI, economic and social information should be collected by area (GSA) and by fleet segment. Countries collecting these data on a yearly basis are requested to submit them annually (reference year – 2). Biennial submission is requested for those countries that do not have annual economic surveys in place.

Economic and social data are generally collected through sampling surveys using questionnaires, but for some fleet segments and some variables, other data sources could be used (e.g. administrative records, auction sales, and census).

Data collected under this task will help to obtain:

  • trends in economic performance and social indicators;
  • time series analysis of average annual prices for commercial species;
  • analysis of the profitability of fleets (revenue, gross value added, operating cash flow);
  • an accurate source of statistical data for landing values and prices;
  • better knowledge of fleet costs and their breakdown in different categories;
  • a complete picture of regional, sub-regional and national employment in the fishery sector.

Exhaustive definitions of concepts related to capital value and costs as well as methodologies for calculating these variables are detailed within the Data Collection Reference Framework (DCRF) manual (, which is annually updated following the guidance of relevant GFCM subsidiary bodies.


OECD Employment data are collected by Economic sector (Harvest sector – Inland water fishing, Marine Coastal fishing, Marine Deep sea fishing, Aquaculture, Processing), Gender and Occupation rate (Part time, Full time). Data are available at:

The Pacific Community – SPC

SPC has developed a handbook for the collection of socio-economic to characterise the role that reef and lagoon resources have. The handbook has both a household and a community component with different aims for each.
The fisheries survey component (finfish and invertebrates) aims to estimate
the total annual fishing impact that a community has on its resources, and its major reasons (internal consumption, export) for fishing. The household survey component aims to assess how dependent (food security, social institutions, income) a community is on its coastal fishery resources.

Ten priority areas for the handbook were identified and these were:

  • What are the major socioeconomic characteristics of the community?
  • How much does the community depend on marine resources for consumption, income, and livelihood?
  • How much is fished by whom?
  • What is harvested and where is the catch taken from?
  • What does the community do with the catch?
  • What is the total catch worth at local market prices?
  • What are the fishing strategies used?
  • What gender issues apply?
  • How does the community keep the fish (preservation and stocks)?
  • What knowledge is there of fisheries management rules (traditional and governmental)?


Kronen, M., Stacey, N., Holland, P., Magron, F. and Power, M. 2007. Socioeconomic Fisheries Surveys in Pacific Islands: A manual for the Collection of a Minimum Dataset. Secretariat of the Pacific Community. Available from: