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

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.

Fishing fleets in the EU ©creativenature.nl - stock.adobe.com 2021

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.

 

The EU fleets remained profitable overall with a landed value EUR 6.3 billion, gross profits of EUR 1.2 billion and net profits of EUR 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, Baltic 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 and a reduced carbon footprint 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.

 

Background

 

The Annual Economic Reports (AER) is the main source of economic and social data for scientific advice on the performance of the EU fishing fleet. It is also increasingly used by scientific bodies, national administrations and international institutions.

 

For the 2021 AER, the JRC contribution continued the efforts of previous years to streamline the content, while providing a more in-depth look at the different  factors driving the economic performance of the EU fleets.

 

The EU Member States collect fisheries data to support the common fisheries policy (CFP) through a scientific advice. The data collection framework (DCF) has existed since 2000, set out in Regulation (EU) 2017/1004 and a multiannual programme (EU MAP).

 

JRC extracts and analyses the data stored in its databases, assesses its quality, and prepares it for the STECF working groups, of which JRC experts are part and often chair. Once the STECF reports are finalised, the aggregated data is published for further use in scientific analyses and policy-making.