Europe reduces fishing fleet, capacity

Published on
November 16, 2015

The number of fishing vessels registered in the EU fleet has fallen as member states continue to make progress in adjusting their fishing capacity, according to the European Commission’s latest annual fleet report.

The report is based on member states’ reports on their efforts to achieve a sustainable balance between fishing capacity and fishing opportunities.

On 1 January 2014, 86,879 vessels were registered in the EU fleet register, with an overall capacity of 1,658,033 gross tonnage (GT) and 6,573,806 KW, found the report. Compared to 2012, this represented a reduction of 7.8 percent in the number of vessels, and a reduction of 1.6 percent in GT and 5.4 percent in KW (excluding vessels registered in Croatia and in the outermost regions).

A breakdown of the fleet situation by member state found that six countries had identified fleet segments with structural overcapacity: Cyprus, Croatia, France, Italy, Latvia, and Spain. In response, and in line with new requirements under the EU's reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), they have developed action plans setting out measures and a timeline to address the imbalance and eliminate the identified structural overcapacity.  

Measures include decommissioning of vessels with public aid as well as more market-oriented mechanisms.

The action plans are a precondition for EU funding for member states under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).
Because excessive fishing power is regarded as a major driver for overfishing, the new CFP obliges member states to adjust the fishing capacity of their fleets to their fishing opportunities over time.

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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