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Oceans and fisheries
News announcement18 November 2021Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries1 min read

EU fleet maintains good profits overall, mainly thanks to sustainable fishing practices and management

Fishing fleet at Lauwersoog, The Netherlands © Rudmer Zwerver/
Fishing fleet at Lauwersoog, The Netherlands © Rudmer Zwerver/

The 2021 Annual Economic Report on the EU Fishing Fleet confirms that in 2019, the fleet maintained overall profitability. The report projects similar profitability levels for 2020, despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the fleet and fish markets. Due to the rise in fuel prices, a reduction in profits is expected for 2021, but the EU fleet is forecast to end 2021 with positive margins, overall.  Sustainable fishing practices are helping to mitigate some of the impacts of the rising fuel prices.

Commenting on the report, European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius said:

This report shows once again that the sustainable practices and management of fishing resources are some of the best investments we can make in the sector, both for our fishers today and for the future. This is an investment that keeps paying off, even in a time of crisis. Sustainability builds resilience and maintains jobs in our fishing communities.

The EU fleets remained profitable overall with a landed value of €6.3 billion, gross profits of €1.2 billion and net profits of €597 million in 2019. The good performance was the result of high average fish prices and the improved status of some important fish stocks. Projections suggest similar profitability levels for 2020.

At the same time, the report shows differences in performance across fleet categories and fishing regions. The large-scale fleet segments registered better economic performance than the small-scale coastal fleet segments. Furthermore, the fleet segments operating in the North-Eastern Atlantic, where most fished stocks are managed at sustainable levels, registered higher economic performance than the fleet segments operating in the Mediterranean and Black Sea regions, where many stocks still face overfishing.

These results provide evidence that there is a strong link between sustainable fishing, economic performance, better salaries and new job opportunities in our coastal communities. Sustainable fishing practices also promote fuel efficiency, as fleet segments that target sustainably managed fish stocks need less effort (fewer days at sea). This, in turn, results in lower fuel consumption and CO2 emissions and contributes to greater overall profitability of the EU fleet.

The Annual Economic Reports on the EU Fishing Fleet provide an overview of the structure and economic performance of the 22 coastal EU Member State fishing fleets. It is the result of combined work by economic experts from the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee of Fisheries (STECF) and the European Commission.

More information

STECF 21-08 - AER 2021


Publication date
18 November 2021
Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries