An economic analysis of the Portuguese fisheries sector 1960–2011

March 2, 2018

This paper undertakes an economic analysis of the Portuguese fisheries sector and fish markets for the period 1960–2011. In this period, the Portuguese economy underwent significant change as well as was subject to numerous external shocks. The main shocks include the revolution of 1974, substantial emigration as well as immigration, membership of the European Union in 1986, and the adoption of the Euro in 1999. The fisheries sector was exposed to a major shock of its own: the introduction of 200 mile Exclusive Economic Zones in 1977 essentially lead to the demise of Portugal as a Distant Water Fishing State (DWFS). As a consequence of these shocks, the Portuguese fisheries sector and trade in fish have undergone tremendous changes. It is remarkable that the overall supply of fish (in tonnes) into Portugal, measured as domestic landings plus exports minus imports, was around 500,000t annually in the early 1960s, reaching a peak of 627,000t in 1967. Due to some of the above-mentioned shocks, the above figure subsequently fell to a bottom level of 246,000t in 1979. By mid-1980s, supply started increasing and in 2007 total supply was estimated at 655,000t, the highest level ever recorded. The novelty of the analysis is that it is based on a 50-year-long time series on Portuguese fisheries, starting during the dictatorship and extending until recently, framing Portugal as part of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) of the European Union. Moreover, the fisheries were analysed within the scope of macroeconomic developments.

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