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August 1999 No. 13
The European Association of Fisheries Economists




Here we are again! After a slight hiccup, caused by illness of the last editor, your new Editor and Assistant Editor are here to resuscitate the Bulletin, record what EAFE is doing and keep you abreast of fisheries economics news in general. The most recent event of note was the Annual Conference in Ireland, at Dublin Castle, which is reported elsewhere in this issue.

Your Bureau emerged from the Annual General Meeting much as before; the only change being the retirement by rote of Paul Hillis from the office of Rapporteur, where he is succeeded by Dominique Rommel. Paul becomes Bulletin Editor, with Erik Lindebo as Assistant Editor. Pavel Salz, Ramon Franquesa, Aaron Hatcher and Henning Jørgensen remain as President, Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer respectively.

Other than that, EAFE's mission of striving to strengthen the role of economics in fisheries management continues. The many separate studies are gradually being increasingly drawn together by the development forces of the Concerted Action and the Economics Report presented to the European Commission's Scientific, Technical and Economics Committee of Fisheries. The goal must always be to promote and assist the most effective possible management of fisheries, and at present, management advice, notably its important component embodied in the production of TACs, is still proving to be relatively ineffective, even if decommissioning, - while expensive for managers and often traumatic for the decommissioned, - has reduced overfishing in some fisheries in recent years.

The gradually increasing co-operation between biologists and economists is a most important step in the right direction. Economics needs biology to show how the resource responds to the economic activity of fishing, and biology needs economics if the relevance of its findings to the supporting of the fishing industry is to be properly and advantageously analysed. Where, as so often happens, remedial management appropriate for an overfished fishery is to reduce the rate of exploitation, the consequential debate between market economists and socio-economists will be as to whether reduction in the exploitation rate should take the more natural form of reduction of the labour force, or whether to adopt the more difficult but often socio-economically preferable form of using the device of some type of quota to prevent job losses, especially in the case of remote, emigration prone communities heavily dependent on fisheries.

In Europe, since the introduction of TAC and quota management in 1983, many stocks have performed disappointingly, partly because the right information was not available to the managers. Application of bio-economic advice which takes account of both growth and mortality functions and of cost and profit functions will give a much clearer picture of the state of the resource on which the industry depends. Predictions which point ahead to the point where initial short term reductions in returns are counterbalanced by medium- and long-term gains will give a more optimistic picture of the possibilities facing fleet and industry than predictions which cover one year only, - (even if they will need to be adjusted annually as new recruitment strengths and other factors which need updating become known).

The role of EAFE in developing accurate data provision and clear analyses to the EU, looks set to involve increasing co-operation with the biologists who up until recently had a virtual monopoly on the shaping of the form of such advice. Such developments provide an example of the possibilities of providing better service to industry and managers alike, and the increase in co-operation between all who provide the data which the managers need to do their jobs is a trend which is bound to increase, and will result in advice based on clearer and mostly less pessimistic predictions being available to managers and industry alike.

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