Economic, sociocultural and ecological dimensions of fishing capacity in NW Mediterranean fisheries

Sílvia Gómez*, Francesc Maynou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this paper is to evaluate fishing capacity by identifying socioeconomic drivers while considering the current resources state in Northwestern Mediterranean fisheries. The case-study is focused on demersal fisheries from the province of Girona (NE Spain), carried out by small scale polyvalent units and bottom trawlers, with purse seiners juxtaposed as comparison. While there has been a major effort in the analysis of vessels as means of production for estimating efficiency in fishing capacity studies, social and cultural aspects are not usually integrated in the analysis. To address this knowledge gap a more holistic capacity evaluation approach is used in this study through quantitative-qualitative mix-method to capture the economic, sociocultural and ecological dimensions that can inform more accurately on fishing capacity. For this purpose, we carried out 30 face-to-face semi-structured interviews consisting of a total of 49 open and closed questions, as primary data source. Quantitative data were analysed through data envelopment analysis (DEA) and triangulated with qualitative data extracted from interviews and participant observation. The results showed that higher inefficiency of small-scale fishing is due to, mainly, unpredictability of resources which is notably affecting small-scale fishing, whereas bottom-trawl is progressively becoming more subject to fishing specialization, enhancing its efficiency. Small-scale fisheries need to work a lot of days, diversifying as much as possible the pool of target species to remain within the production frontier. Or, conversely, they must specialize in highly demanded and priced species. An important finding is that social networks as well as knowledge is substantial in fisheries-based economies and play a role in the characterisation of fishing capacity that has to be taken into consideration. The findings are discussed in light of the objective of fishing effort reduction of European Multiannual Plan for demersal fisheries, entered into force from January 2020.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number105323
JournalOcean and Coastal Management
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2020


  • Fishing capacity
  • Mix-methods approach
  • Multiannual plan
  • Sociocultural aspects
  • Socioeconomic drivers


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