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Oceans and fisheries

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Fishing plays a crucial role in employment and economic activity in several EU regions – in some European coastal communities the fishing sector accounts for as many as half the local jobs.

Employment in the fishing sector tends to be concentrated in a handful of countries. Spain alone accounts for a quarter of total employment, and the three countries with the highest levels of employment – Spain, Greece and Italy – make up around 65%.

Aquaculture employs roughly 75 000 people, including part-time and full-time jobs in both marine and freshwater aquaculture.

The processing industry consists of approximately 3 500 companies. The mainstay of EU production is canned products and ready meals consisting of fish, crustaceans and molluscs.

Employment in the fisheries, aquaculture and processing sectors (measured in full-time equivalents)

Fisheries (2017) 
BE214
BG716
CZ  (*)
DK1 644
DE1 207
EE  (*)460
IE2 608
EL20 542
ES29 203
FR  (*)6 623
HR1 665
IT20 268
CY689
LV326
LT348
HU  (*)-
MT719
NL  (*)1 723
AT  (*)-
PL2 484
PT  (*)7 823
RO60
SI63
SK-
FI271
SE793
UK7 358
Aquaculture (2016)
BE3
BG923
CZ  (*)904
DK366
DE983
EE  (*)34
IE1 027
EL3 482
ES6 534
FR  (*)8 837
HR1 625
IT3 289
CY459
LV169
LT301
HU  (*)1 274
MT256
NL  (*)206
AT  (*)171
PL5 256
PT  (*)829
RO2 912
SI20
SK385
FI341
SE295
UK2 802
Processing (2017) 
BE1 373
BG1 490
CZ (*)741
DK3 153
DE5 885
EE  (*)1 348
IE3 138
EL2 130
ES19 826
FR (*)11 021
HR1 672
IT4 568
CY14
LV3 125
LT3 744
HU  (*)14
MT72
NL  (*)2 227
AT  (*)117
PL17 578
PT  (*)7 415
RO1 006
SI (2)130
SK569
FI760
SE1 591
UK19 118

NB: Aquaculture figures include marine, shellfish and freshwater.
(*) Eurostat data as Member States did not submit data for the data call.

Sources:
For fisheries: Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF), The 2019 Annual Economic Report on the EU Fishing Fleet (STECF-19-06), Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2019, ISBN 978-92-79-79390-5, doi:10.2760/56158), JRC112940.
For aquaculture: Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF), Economic Report of the EU Aquaculture Sector (STECF-18-19), Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2018, ISBN 978-92-79-79402-5, doi:10.2760/45076, JRC114801.
For processing: Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF), The EU Fish Processing Sector – Economic report (STECF-19-15), Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2019, ISBN 978-92-76-14666-7, doi:10.2760/30373, JRC119498.