Cod or clupeids? Economic consequences for fisheries operating in different ecosystem states

Authors: Staffan Waldo  Anton Paulrud  Katja Ringdahl  Johan Lövgren  Mikaela Bergenius 

We explored the economic consequences for the Swedish fishery of fishing cod and clupeids (sprat and herring) at different total allowable catches (TAC) in the Baltic Sea. We compared profits in the fishery by studying combinations of high and low TACs of cod and sprat, respectively, based on biological scenarios.

The analysis contributes to the literature by explicitly modeling how changes in the ecosystem could affect the optimal fleet structure and economic performance of different fleet segments. The Swedish fishery was used as a case study within the Baltic Sea, acknowledging that the Baltic Sea is utilized for fishing by all states in the region and that other countries might face other consequences. Further, the fishing sector is a complex industry characterized by vessels participating in multiple fisheries. Each vessel will exploit several fish stocks enabling the fisherman to choose among stocks. If the fishing possibilities change, the fisherman will look for alternative fishing activities for using the company’s labor and capital assets. Thus - through rational economic decisions made by the fishing industry - a management action in one fishery will lead to effects in other fisheries that might be difficult for managers to predict.The analyses were performed using the Swedish Resource Rent Model for the Commercial Fishery, SRRMCF, which is an economic model covering the entire Swedish fishery.

The main conclusions from the study were that it was more profitable to fish the three species at FMSY than at the current utilization levels and that the economic profitability could be further increased by up to 118 MSEK by increasing the cod stock at the expense of reducing sprat abundance. These effects rely on all stocks being fished at sustainable levels.

The report is joint research between AgriFood Economics Centre, the Swedish Authority for Marine and Water Management, and Department of Aquatic Resources at SLU.


Staffan Waldo

Anton Paulrud

Katja Ringdahl

Johan Lövgren

Mikaela Bergenius