Regional Socio-economic studies on employment and the levels of dependency on fishing


Objectives and overview of methodology

1 Objectives

The aims of this series of studies, which equate into four defined tasks, are to:

a) Quantify and describe the socio-economic importance of fishing and aquaculture in Europe
b) Determine the level of dependency on fisheries of these areas, in terms of jobs and incomes
c) Examine the trends in evolution of employment since the 1991 socio-economic studies
d) Examine the extent to which the socio-economic measures currently in place have been implemented, and the potential in the coastal areas for conversion and diversification of employment.

2 Methodology

The work was conducted by considering 22 separate fisheries regions. In each region four tasks were completed.

Task 1 provided an overview of the whole fishing industry in each region, covering the basic economic parameters of fleet structure, production, processing, on-shore infrastructure and ancillary trades (such as vessel construction and repair). Aquaculture (both coastal and inland) was also included. In all cases there was a focus on data relating to employment and value added.

Task 2 involved measuring three indicators of dependency.  These were the share of fisheries activity in the value added of the area (Ratio 1), the share of fisheries employment in total regional employment (Ratio 2), and the share of catches subject to CFP quota management measures as a proportion of total catches (Ratio 3). Employment multipliers were also calculated where feasible, by creating local input-output models from national input-output tables. In addition to the quantitative indicators, case studies were undertaken in each of the 22 study regions. These helped to illustrate the different kinds of dependency which exist within the regions of the EU.

Task 3 was an examination of the changes over time in socio-economic parameters and levels of dependency since the previous study conducted in 1991.

Task 4 identified and commented on the types of socio-economic support measure available to the fishery sector in each region, the extent of their application and their actual and perceived effects, taking into account the likely future trends in the fishery sector in each region. Recommendations were developed for improving these measures.

The minimum regional level was NUTS 3 (except for inland fisheries and aquaculture where NUTS 2 would be acceptable).  However, data were also available at lower regional levels of disaggregation and many regions were able to provide data at NUTS 4 and NUTS 5 levels.

Apart from this report, one of the main outputs of these projects is development of dependency maps (and data tables) to illustrate graphically, at NUTS 3 levels (and lower regional levels of disaggregation where available), the regional values of the Ratios 1, 2 and 3, as well as other key economic indicators for the fishery sector.  The maps are presented in the regional database along with a brief socio-economic profile of each study region.

3 Constraints and limitations of the study

Any EU-wide study of this nature will need to reconcile differences in data definitions and methodologies between regions. During the study two workshops were held in Brussels, attended by all of the consultants undertaking the regional studies, the coordination group and staff from DG Fisheries. The workshops assisted the development of a harmonised methodology across the study regions, and supported the development of methodological guidelines and standardised data tables.

3.1 Comparisons between regions

To enable comparison of regional dependency indicators, there is a need to ensure that the definition of areas within regions is consistent across study regions. One major  problem experienced with this was that in some regions, the territorial divisions for which employment data were available were not NUTS-based. In the UK, the fishing employment data are collected on a port, rather than NUTS basis, and so fisheries dependency areas were based on TTWAs (travel to work areas).  There was no option but to accept this regional definition in the UK study.

There was a second problem which relates to the fact that the area and population size of the NUTS 3 areas varies considerably between member states, and this affects the value of any dependency ratio. It is therefore important that the dependency ratios should be considered in the context of the total population of the areas to which they apply.

3.2 Definitions of fishery sector activities

Definition of different activities within the fishery sector was also problematic. Particular problems were experienced with the activities of mareyage in France (wholesaling and primary processing) and the production of mollusca in managed fisheries (such as viveiros in Portugal). After detailed consideration of which activities should be included in the numerators of Ratio 2, the following disaggregations and definitions were agreed:

Fishing: All fishing activities conducted from a vessel

Processing: All fish processing activities, including primary processing, but excluding mareyage and distribution activities

Marine aquaculture: Activities in the culture of finfish and bivalve mollusca when introduction of juveniles and/or feeding is conducted

Total fishery sector: All activities including the above, plus (where data available) inland fishing, inland aquaculture, vessel construction and repair, marketing and distribution (inlcuding mareyage) and gathering of bivalve mollusca.


3.3 Comparisons over time

A major constraint was also the regional disaggregation used in the previous 1991 studies, since for Task 3 it was necessary to maintain, as far as possible, comparability of data.  The areas for which the 1991 study developed dependency indicators were extremely heterogeneous, with different regions reporting at different NUTS levels, such that in many cases the only common base for comparison was at NUTS 2 level.

In the 1991 studies, the capture fishing sector was examined separately, but all other fishing related activities were consolidated in an 'others' category.  However, this category was frequently not fully defined. Where definitions were given it was clear that they varied significantly from one region to another. Except for fishing as such, this makes it very difficult, and in some cases impossible, to compare the employment data from the present studies with those previously undertaken.