Vessel decommissioning schemes are double-edged sword for EU members, fishers

French scallop vessels.

France, Ireland, and Denmark are among several nations around Europe that have implemented plans to decommission vessels due to increasingly strict E.U. fishing policies and the logistical consequences of Brexit.

Over the past few years, the E.U.’s diverse fishing fleet, which has vessels ranging from under 6 meters to over 75 meters, has steadily declined in terms of tonnage and engine power. The total number of vessels in the fleet fell between 2013 and 2021 to 74,635, a reduction of over 6,000 vessels.

Even though that number has decreased steadily, it still leaves the capacity of some fleet segments out of balance with their current fishing opportunities.

Under the E.U.’s Common Fisheries Policy, each member country has an obligation to ensure a “stable and enduring balance” between fishing capacity and fishing opportunities, and a fleet capacity ceiling is enshrined in E.U. law.

Complicating the matter, the E.U. transferred itself...

Photo courtesy of CatherineLProd/Shutterstock

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