Ocean Science Summary: Marine Fisheries and the World Economy

Ocean Science Summary: Marine Fisheries and the World EconomyPeople in coastal countries depend on healthy fisheries for their livelihoods. Gross revenue globally from marine fisheries has been estimated during the last decade at $80 billion to $85 billion annually. This estimate, however, reflects only the landed, or market, value of the fish as they first leave the boat, and it underestimates the full economic impact of fisheries. A more accurate accounting of the value of the fishing industry to the global economy would incorporate the indirect effects on related industries that depend on well-managed fisheries.

Andrew Dyck and his co-author, Rashid Sumaila, of the University of British Columbia, estimated the total global economic activity supported by marine fisheries (i.e., non-aquaculture, ocean fisheries). They found that by considering the economic impacts of fisheries on other sectors such as boat manufacturing or canning industries, the total global value is approximately $240 billion annually, as calculated from 2003 data—nearly three times the landed value. The authors concluded that considering only the direct value of fisheries underestimates the true economic impact of marine fisheries worldwide. This Pew Ocean Science Series report is a summary of the scientists' findings.