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. Compared to 2012, this represents a reduction of 7.8% in the number of vessels, and a reduction of 1.6% in GT and 5.4 % in KW (excluding vessels registered in Croatia and in the outermost regions).
A breakdown of the fleet situation by Member State shows that six Member States have 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, 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. It is the first time that Member States present such plans.
Excessive fishing power is a major driver for overfishing. The recent reform of the CFP obliges Member States to adjust the fishing capacity of their fleets to their fishing opportunities over time.
The annual fleet report is based on Member States’ reports on their efforts to achieve a sustainable balance between fishing capacity and fishing opportunities. Member States are responsible for achieving a stable and enduring balance between the fishing capacity of their fleet and their fishing opportunities, and to take appropriate measures to ensure this balance. This has been a requirement under the Common Fisheries Policy since 2002 and is continued in the new CFP as adopted in December 2013. Such balance contributes to the objectives of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), in particular to ensure that fishing activities are environmentally sustainable in the long term and consistent with achieving economic, social and employment benefits.