UBC Faculty Research and Publications

Global Fisheries : Livelihood Impact of Overfishing : Technical Report : November 30 2022 Teh, Louise; Teh, Lydia C. L.; Sumaila, Ussif Rashid


This technical report estimates the catch loss arising from overfished fish stocks and the socio-economic impacts associated with this catch loss. In this analysis, catch loss is defined as the difference between the maximum sustainable yield of a fish stock and its catch in the most recent year. We focus on 482 fish stocks identified as ‘overfished’ in the Global Fishing Index, a global assessment of the sustainability of over 1,400 fish stocks conducted by the Minderoo Foundation. For these overfished stocks, we estimate (1) the potential catch loss (in tonnes) from overfished fish stocks; (2) the landed value (in USD) of catch loss; and (3) the number of jobs associated with marine fisheries catch loss worldwide. Our results indicate that the annual estimated catch loss for 482 overfished fish stocks amounted to 15 million tonnes worldwide. This catch loss results in huge societal cost, translating to around US$39 billion in potential lost landed value annually, and an estimated 668,479 associated full time equivalent jobs. If all the overfished fish stocks were fished at MSY, all regions worldwide could potentially gain fishing jobs, with highest potential gains in Latin America and the Caribbean (24% above current jobs). Thus, our analysis emphasises the urgent need to immediately rebuild overfished fish stocks in order to recoup the current economic and social benefits that are forgone with catch loss.

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