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Oceans and fisheries

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Managing fleet capacity is an essential part of ensuring sustainable fishing, one of the main objectives of the common fisheries policy. The EU fishing fleet is very diverse, with vessels ranging from under 6 metres to over 75 metres. Under EU law the total capacity of the fishing fleet needs to remain below set ceilings. Any decommissioning of vessels or reduction in fleet capacity achieved with public financial support must be permanent.

EU fishing fleet capacity by length category (2019)
 LengthNumber of vesselsGross tonnageEngine power in kWAverage age IN YEARS
 < 1269 480174 7782 484 88832.5
 12-249 306379 1591 705 29331.0
 > 242 467996 9821 875 01626.3
TOTAL81 2531 550 9196 065 19829.9

 ​​​​NB: Length refers to total length.
Source: EU fleet register. Situation as at December 2019.

Over the past several years the capacity of the EU fishing fleet has continued to decline in terms of both tonnage and engine power. The number of EU vessels in 2019 was 81 253, i.e. 5 505 fewer than in 2013. Nevertheless, the capacity of several fleet segments in the Member States is still not in balance with their fishing opportunities. The Member States concerned must adopt action plans to remedy this situation.

Healthier stocks contribute to a more sustainable industry. Overall, the EU fleet was profitable in 2019. This consolidates the gradual recovery in recent years, during which both gross profit and net profit margin of the fleet have shown an upward trend.

EU fishing fleet (2019)

 Number of vessels%Gross tonnage%Engine power in kW%
BE68

0.1%

12 9140.8%42 8080.7%
BG1 8422.3%6 0440.4%53 7030.9%
DK2 0822.6%71 5414.6%209 3353.5%
DE1 3151.6%57 7323.7%129 3282.1%
EE1 7432.1%15 7151.0%46 7780.8%
IE1 9242.4%61 1563.9%179 4623.0%
EL14 93418.4%71 1044.6%426 4317.0%
ES8 88610.9%332 78721.5%777 26412.8%
FR6 2627.7%173 97411.2%960 74615.8%
HR7 6059.4%44 0362.8%345 0905.7%
IT12 06014.8%146 2719.4%930 50215.3%
CY8111.0%3 7120.2%38 7290.6%
LV6700.8%17 9911.2%35 7370.6%
LT1390.2%40 6582.6%47 3000.8%
MT9161.1%6 5020.4%72 9561.2%
NL7310.9%99 0916.4%245 4704.0%
PL8271.0%32 3262.1%80 2201.3%
PT7 7919.6%86 9455.6%344 9255.7%
RO1650.2%1 5330.1%6 3500.1%
SI1370.2%6730.04%8 8010.1%
FI3 2013.9%15 6191.0%170 5472.8%
SE1 2111.5%24 5471.6%143 7532.4%
UK5 9337.3%228 04714.7%768 96312.7%
EU-2881 253100%1 550 919100%6 065 198100%

Source: EU fleet register. Situation as at December 2019.

 

Evolution of EU fishing fleet capacity between 1996 and 2019
Evolution of EU fishing fleet capacity between 1996 and 2019
EU fishing fleet economic performance indicators between 2010 and 2017
EU fishing fleet economic performance indicators between 2010 and 2017