Societal impacts

In the last century and earlier parts of this century whole communities around the coasts of the North Sea depended on herring (e.g., Coull, 1986). This reliance has decreased but herring fishing is still important to some coastal communities. The effects of the collapse of the stock, therefore, varied in different ports bordering the North Sea. There is also some information available on imports of herring over the period of closure and the extent of supplies from other areas. Thus, imports from Canada maintained supplies of herring in the UK while catches in the Baltic were available to Denmark and Germany. As a generalization, however, worldwide supplies of herring diminished to low levels. Whereas the total world catch reached a peak of 4.6 million metric tons in 1966, it had decreased to 1.1 million metric tons by 1979 (UN FAO, 1989).

The effect on the market of the collapse is well demonstrated by the quantities and percentages of herring that were sold to the home market in Scotland before and after 1978 (Table 10.1). In the period 1971-77 never more than 20 to 25 percent were "klondyked," while most of the landings were absorbed by the home market, which accounted for 72,000 to 94,000 metric tons from 1971 to 1974. During the 1977-82 closure, much of what was available went to the home market and the unit price in both Scotland and other countries in the European Community responded accordingly (Table 10.2). In Scotland the unit price rose by a factor of over 20 between 1969 and 1979. Since the reopening of the North Sea and west of Scotland fisheries, the home market has been satiated at a level of under 20,000 metric tons and the unit price decreased and has stabilized at around ¿120 per metric ton from 1982-88. This lack of growth of the European market has given rise to considerable disquiet in the European Community (Commission of the European Communities, 1987). Clearly, the nonavailability of herring for a number of years has had a major and lasting effect.

The effect of the collapse in the small mesh trawl industrial fisheries was less noticeable, because catches of alternative species (mainly sprat, Norway pout, and sandeels) increased during this period (Fig. 10.8). Similarly, effort in the purse seine industrial fishery was transferred progressively to the North Sea stocks of

Table 10.1

Landings and disposal of herring by UK vessels in Scottish ports

1971-88

Landings to

Home Market Klondyked

Year

Total landings (t x 103)

Quantity

%

Quantity

%

1971

132.9

72.2

54.3

27.1

20.4

1972

137.9

78.4

56.9

25.1

18.2

1973

145.3

88.3

60.8

37.4

25.7

1974

129.4

94.1

72.7

23.2

17.9

1975

98.5

78.5

79.7

11.4

11.6

1976

73.1

62.9

86.0

7.7

10.5

1977

38.3

32.9

85.9

5.2

13.6

1978

13.8

13.3

96.4

0.4

2.9

1979

2.0

2.0

100.0

0.0

0.0

1980

2.2

2.1

95.5

0.0

0.0

1981

32.6

8.5

26.1

13.0

39.9

1982

41.5

7.9

19.0

16.7

41.2

1983

51.3

10.4

20.3

26.2

51.9

1984

67.9

12.2

18.0

39.3

61.9

1985

87.0

12.0

13.8

54.8

64.6

1986

100.7

16.4

16.3

77.1

77.3

1987

96.4

18.1

18.8

65.6

68.0

1988

87.4

17.4

19.9

62.4

71.4

Source: Scottish Sea Fisheries Statistical Tables

Source: Scottish Sea Fisheries Statistical Tables

Table 10.2

The unit price (£ per metric ton) of herring in Scotland, 1965-88

Table 10.2

The unit price (£ per metric ton) of herring in Scotland, 1965-88

Year

Unit Price

Year

Unit Price

Year

Unit Price

1965

27.5

1973

59.4

1981

130.1

1966

23.6

1974

91.3

1982

122.3

1967

24.8

1975

97.3

1983

126.3

1968

25.6

1976

128.5

1984

125.7

1969

26.0

1977

292.6

1985

121.2

1970

31.7

1978

392.5

1986

111.2

1971

33.3

1979

569.7

1987

119.6

1972

36.8

1980

416.5

1988

119.8

Source: Scottish Sea Fisheries Statistical Tables

Source: Scottish Sea Fisheries Statistical Tables

YEAR

Fig. 10.8 Landings of fish used for reduction and landings of all fish from the North Sea shown as cumulative amounts within each year. (From Bailey, 1987.)

YEAR

Fig. 10.8 Landings of fish used for reduction and landings of all fish from the North Sea shown as cumulative amounts within each year. (From Bailey, 1987.)

mackerel and sprat and, more recently, to the migratory western stock of mackerel.

Since the reopening of the North Sea herring fisheries in 1983, the European Community and Norway have agreed to a basis for management of the North Sea herring stock in which a set quota allocation procedure is applied to the TAC agreed on each year. In practice, however, the herring fisheries have developed rather unevenly. While major landings are made in Norway, Denmark, The Netherlands, and Scotland, there has been almost no recovery of markets in England, and landings in Germany are relatively low.

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