The Fisheries Economics Research Unit is a leader in the field of fisheries economics, both in terms of research and the collection and curation of global fisheries data. In the near future we intend to present this data on the web in interactive applications that highlight trends in the fisheries sector around the globe. See below for a brief introduction to the data sources we have available.

Cost of fishing

The global cost of fishing database provides an overview of fishing cost patterns at national, regional, and global scales. This database covers variable and fixed costs of 144 maritime countries, representing 98% of global landings in 2005. The data were converted to 2005 real values using the consumer price index (CPI) for each country, obtained from the World Bank (2007). All fishing costs were converted from local currencies to US dollars (US$) using currency exchange rates provided by the World Bank (2007), and the original cost was standardized to the annual average weighted cost per tonne of catch (US$ per tonne), i.e. total cost/total landings. Costs associated with operating fishing vessels were categorized as variable costs because they vary with the level of fishing activity. The major items under variable costs include fuel, salaries for crew, repair and maintenance costs of vessels and gear, and the cost of selling fish via auction, of fish handling and processing (e.g. the purchase of ice). Fixed costs do not vary with the level of fishing activity and consist mainly of the amount invested in vessels, i.e. their capital value. Interest and depreciation costs fall into this category.

Each record in the database represented each country and gear-type combination. Gear types included in the database were based on the gear categorization system of the Sea Around Us Project. Please refer to Lam et al. (2011) for more detailed information of the database, or contact Vicky Lam directly.

Please cite our data as follows:
Lam VWY, Sumaila UR, Dyck AJ, Pauly D, Watson R. 2011. Construction and potential applications of a global cost of fishing database. ICES Journal of Marine Science. 68(9): 1996–2004.


The marine fisheries employment database contains total marine fishing jobs in the direct and indirect sectors in 144 countries worldwide. The number of subsistence, artisanal, and unregistered fishers are estimated and included in the direct sector. Recreational fishers and aquaculture jobs are not included. The indirect sector covers marine fisheries jobs in manufacturing, processing, and ancillary activities such as marketing and equipment repair. Data were derived from FAO and government records, and other literature. Where these sources were insufficient, employment data were estimated using a monte carlo method. The database reports estimated marine capture fisheries employment in these fields: Direct sector (Reported); Small-scale fisher estimate; Direct sector Subtotal; Indirect sector (Reported); Indirect sector Subtotal; Total employment.

For more information or to access the database, please contact Lydia Teh.

Ex-vessel fish prices

The most comprehensive database on this subject, the data considers the price at first sale to be an ex-vessel price. This database was constructed and documented by Sumaila et al. (2007) and has been used as the de facto standard source of price data among global fisheries researchers.

Retail fish prices and consumption

As part of her Master’s work, this dataset is currently being constructed by Liesbeth van der Meer.

Marine recreation

This database provides a static estimate of participation, expenditures, and employment in recreational fishing and whale watching for 144 maritime countries. Primary data was obtained through extensive literature review and personal communications, and used in a meta-analysis to fill data gaps, with 2003 chosen as the estimation year due to the temporal distribution of available data. For each country, and for recreational fishing and whale watching, an estimate is given of the yearly participation rate in the activity (% of country population), total expenditures generated (USD), and employment supported (full-time equivalents).

Please refer to Cisneros-Montemayor and Sumaila (2010) for more detailed information on the database. To access the database, please contact Andrés Cisneros Montemayor.

Please cite our data as:
Cisneros-Montemayor, A.M. and Sumaila, U.R. 2010. A global estimate of benefits from ecosystem-based marine recreation: potential impacts and implications for management. Journal of Bioeconomics 12: 245-268.


The world’s largest database of government financial transfers to the fishing industry. The database covers more than 150 maritime countries/political entities and 25 categories of government funded programs. Construction and application of the original database is documented in a UBC Fisheries Centre Research Report and an updated version is published in the Journal of Bioeconomics.


A record of import and export of fish products, this database is headed by Wilf Swartz and has been used in several peer-reviewed publications.