School of Natural and Environmental Sciences


A critical analysis of the inshore commercial fisheries sector in England and its future prospects

This project focuses on the English inshore commercial marine fisheries sector. According to the Department of the Environment, Fisheries and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), there has been a 20% decline in the number of under-10m vessels since 1999, leading to an overall decrease in inshore fleet capacity (Defra, 2009). Current concerns surround the declining size of the inshore sector and impacts on coastal communities which are economically, socially and culturally dependent on the sector have led to the formulation of this project.

The research questions which are central to this research are:

  1. What is the current condition of the English inshore fisheries sector in comparison with its condition 20 years ago? 
  2. Why is the English inshore sector declining? Is it economics (including globalisation and cost inefficiencies); or ecology (too few fish); or science (inaccurate knowledge of stocks and their behaviour); or politics (policy mismanagement and/or weak governance) or a combination of all of the above?
  3. Are inshore fisheries elsewhere in the world in a similar condition?
  4. Can lessons be learned from best practice abroad?
  5. What measures are needed to restore the sustainability of the English inshore sector?