From Raúl Prellezo

EAFE President


Massimo Spagnolo Obituary


It is with great sadness that I wish to let you know that our colleague and my personal friend Massimo Spagnolo has died of heart attack on April 5th, while having a dinner with his family.

For over 40 years, Massimo played an important role in developing fisheries economics into a mature scientific discipline with a pronounced institutional role in Italy and at the EU and international level. But above all Massimo was a great personality and a warm friend, who loved to entertain and enjoy good (Italian) food and wine.

In 1982 Massimo founded IREPA (Institute for Economic Research in Fishery and Aquaculture), which quickly became a leading group in European and global fisheries economics. Under his leadership the staff of IREPA contributed to large number of EU research projects, work of STECF, OECD Fishery Committee, FAO, GFCM, ADRIAMED and to various other international forums. IREPA provided also important services to the Italian Ministries responsible for fisheries management.

Massimo was not a theoretician. He was dedicated to empirical work and understood that collecting data about the fisheries sector and maintaining close links to it was essential to make a tangible contribution to fisheries management. He created an extensive network of data collectors, long before collection of fisheries economics data became compulsory under EU legislation. It is certain that Italian experience in this area was an important contribution to the later EU-wide programme.

During the IIFET conference in Esbjerg in 1988, Massimo was one of the founding fathers of EAFE, together with a small group of soul mates like Jacques Weber (FR), Hans Frost (DK), Niel McKeller and Phillip Rodgers (UK), and Wil Smit (NL). Massimo acted as EAFE president and organized several EAFE conferences in Salerno, first one in 1992. Thanks to his hospitality and organizational talent Salerno became the city having held most EAFE conferences since its establishment. EAFE’s logo, the fish with stars around it, was designed at Massimo’s initiative!

Massimo understood the value of cooperating with others at national and international level.  He gave opportunities and responsibilities to his colleagues, which allowed them to grow personally as well as professionally. Thanks to his management style and ability to delegate and even push people to full use of their abilities, Italy has today numerous fisheries economists who are making an important contribution to this scientific field and are active members of EAFE.

Massimo was a visionary and an optimist. From his excellent network and awareness of on-going developments he was always looking for new initiatives to undertake. Even after he was accused of legal irregularities, which proved completely unfounded, but which led to the de facto termination of IREPA’s activities, he continued looking for new future opportunities.

Unfortunately, Massimo passed away far too soon, for his colleagues, friends and especially for his family.

Pavel Salz

EAFE President 1997-2000