Pesca

Fisheries facts and figures

Fisheries facts and figures

Fisheries facts and figures

1. Responsible and sustainable fishing

2. Fishing fleet

Download fleet statistics

Managing fleet capacity is an essential part of ensuring sustainable fishing, one of the main objectives of the common fisheries policy. The EU fishing fleet is very diverse, with vessels ranging from under six metres to over 75. Under EU law the total capacity of the fishing fleet may not be increased. Any decommissioning of vessels or reductions in fleet capacity achieved with public financial support must be permanent.

EU fishing fleet capacity by length category (2017)
Length

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Number of vessels

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Gross tonnage

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Engine power in kW
Average age

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< 12 70 709 176 329 2 516 081 24.7

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12-24 9 673 386 499 1 770 575 22.5

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> 24 2 735 1 013 600 1 979 313 17.1
TOTAL 83 117 1 576 429 6 265 969 21.4
 

NB: Length refers to total length.
Source: EU Fishing Fleet Register. Situation as in September 2017.

For the past 22 years, the EU fishing fleet capacity has declined in terms of both tonnage and engine power. Despite enlargements to the EU, the number of EU vessels in 2017 was 83 117 – 20 717 fewer than in 1996.

Healthier stocks contribute to a more sustainable industry. Overall, the EU fleet was profitable in 2015. This consolidates the gradual recovery of recent years, during which both gross profit and net profit margin of the fleet have shown an upward trend.

The fishing fleet of the Member States (2017)

Number of vessels % Gross tonnage % Engine power in kW %
BE 72

0.1%

13 814 0.9% 45 051 0.7%
BG 1 894 2.3% 6 111 0.4% 54 981 0.9%
DK 2 222 2.7% 68 625 4.4% 209 689 3.3%
DE 1 392 1.7% 62 116 3.9% 135 630 2.2%
EE 1 590 1.9% 14 217 0.9% 45 452 0.7%
IE 2 061 2.5% 62 373 4.0% 187 629 3.0%
EL 15 057 18.1% 71 313 4.5% 427 912 6.8%
ES 9 231 11.1% 335 179 21.3% 788 292 12.6%
FR 6 567 7.9% 174 067 11.0% 974 297 15.5%
HR 7 553 9.1% 46 839 3.0% 360 636 5.8%
IT 12 275 14.8% 157 274 10.0% 982 597 15.7%
CY 804 1.0% 3 465 0.2% 37 114 0.6%
LV 678 0.8% 30 120 1.9% 50 200 0.8%
LT 144 0.2% 40 877 2.6% 48 136 0.8%
MT 927 1.1% 6 384 0.4% 69 157 1.1%
NL 849 1.0% 131 936 8.4% 312 665 5.0%
PL 839 1.0% 25 322 1.6% 73 950 1.2%
PT 7 952 9.6% 92 794 5.9% 353 874 5.6%
RO 155 0.2% 1 371 0.1% 6 065 0.1%
SI 185 0.2% 725 0.05% 10 394 0.2%
FI 3 197 3.8% 16 426 1.0% 174 117 2.8%
SE 1 266 1.5% 25 595 1.6% 149 886 2.4%
UK 6 207 7.5% 189 485 12.0% 768 247 12.3%
EU-28 83 117 100% 1 576 429 100% 6 265 969 100%
 

Source: EU Fishing Fleet Register. Situation as in September 2017.

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Source: EU fishing fleet register

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3. Employment

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Fishing plays a crucial role for employment and economic activity in several EU regions – in some European coastal communities the fishing sector accounts for as many as half the local jobs.

Employment in the fishing sector tends to be concentrated in a handful of countries. Spain alone accounts for a fourth of total employment, and the four countries with the highest levels of employment – Spain, Greece, Italy and Portugal – make up around 73%.

Aquaculture employs roughly 80 000 people, including part-time and full-time jobs in both marine and freshwater aquaculture.

The processing industry counts approximately 3 700 companies. The mainstay of EU production is conserves and ready meals of fish, crustaceans and molluscs.

Employment in the fisheries, aquaculture and processing sectors (measured in full-time equivalents)

Fisheries (2015) 
BE 413
BG 692
CZ 762
DK 1 570
DE 1 180
EE 412
IE 2 036
EL (2) 24 759
ES 29 322
FR 5 951
HR 2 071
IT 21 077
CY 762
LV 291
LT 407
HU -
MT 811
NL 1 732
AT -
PL 2 364
PT 8 323
RO 45
SI 75
SK -
FI 342
SE 793
UK 8 034
Aquaculture (2014) (1)
BE -
BG 679
CZ -
DK 336
DE 60
EE 30
IE 941
EL 4 640
ES 5 946
FR 9 114
HR 1 117
IT 1 695
CY 341
LV -
LT -
HU -
MT 153
NL 212
AT -
PL -
PT 799
RO 2 001
SI 19
SK -
FI 329
SE 278
UK 2 761
Processing (2016) 
BE 905
BG 1 482
CZ 742
DK 3 018
DE 7 160
EE 1 844
IE 2 147
EL 1 235
ES 17 693
FR 11 218
HR 1 149
IT 4 002
CY -
LV 3 588
LT 5 240
HU 6
MT -
NL 2 181
AT 116
PL 16 569
PT 6 913
RO 1 279
SI (2) 97
SK 651
FI 748
SE 1 662
UK 13 637
 

(1) Data cover only marine aquaculture.
(2) Persons employed.

Source: for fisheries: Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF), The 2017 annual economic report on the EU fishing fleet (STECF 17-12), Luxembourg, Publications Office of the European Union, 2017 (Report EUR 28359 EN, JRC 107883, doi:10.2760/36154);
for aquaculture: Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF), Economic report of the EU aquaculture sector (STECF-16-12), Luxembourg, Publications Office of the European Union, 2016 (Report EUR 28356 EN, JRC 104210, doi:10.2788/67732);
for processing: Eurostat.

4. Fisheries and aquaculture production

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The EU is the fourth largest producer worldwide, accounting for about 3.1% of global fisheries and aquaculture production. 80% of production comes from fisheries and 20% from aquaculture.

Spain, Denmark, the United Kingdom, and France and are the largest producers in terms of volume in the EU.

Main world producers (2015)
(catches and aquaculture)

(volume in 1000 tonnes live weight and percentage of total)

Country

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catches
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catches
Fishery

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aquaculture
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aquaculture
Aquaculture
Total production % total
China 17 853 61 536 79 389 37.69%
Indonesia 6 565 15 649 22 214 10.55%
India 4 862 5 238 10 100 4.79%
EU-28 5 160 1 307 6 467 3.07%
Vietnam 2 757 3 450 6 207 2.95%
United States 5 045 425 5 471 2.60%
Peru 4 838 90 4 929 2.34%
Japan 3 553 1 103 4 656 2.21%
Russia 4 463 153 4 617 2.19%
Philippines 2 154 2 348 4 503 2.14%
Norway 2 441 1 380 3 821 1.81%
Bangladesh 1 623 2 060 3 684 1.75%
South Korea 1 656 1 676 3 333 1.58%
Chile 2 132 1 057 3 190 1.51%
Myanmar/Burma (*) 1 953 999 2 953 1.40%
Thailand 1 693 897 2 590 1.23%
Malaysia 1 496 506 2 003 0.95%
Others (*) 34 399 6 127 40 527 19.24%
Total 104 650 106 009 210 660 100%
 

(*) FAO estimate.
Source: For EU-28 catches: Eurostat for all MS except CZ, HU, AT and SK. (These data do not include inland water catches.)
For inland water catches for CZ, HU, AT and SK only: FAO.
For EU-28 aquaculture: Eurostat and Eumofa.
For other countries: FAO.

5. External trade

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The EU is the leading trader of fisheries and aquaculture products in the world in terms of value. EU trade (i.e. imports and exports) has increased over the past few years, reaching EUR 29.1 billion in 2014. Norway, China, Morocco and Iceland are the EU’s main suppliers, while the United States, Norway, Switzerland and China are the EU’s main customers.

The EU is a net importer of fisheries and aquaculture products, mostly frozen and fresh and chilled. Sweden, Spain, Denmark and the United Kingdom are the leading importing Member States.

In 2016 EU exports to third countries increased to EUR 4.7 billion. Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom are the leading exporting Member States.

Trade between EU countries is very significant and plays an essential role in the EU’s fisheries trade. Its value is comparable to that of imports into the EU, i.e. EUR 23.6 billion in 2016. The main exporters to other EU Member States are Sweden, Denmark, Spain and the Netherlands. The main importers are France, Italy, Germany, and Spain.

Trade of fisheries and aquaculture products between the European Union and non-EU countries (2016)
(volume in tonnes and value in thousands of EUR)

IMPORTS EXPORTS
VOLUME VALUE VOLUME VALUE
Pelagic fish 1 124 505 3 408 570 885 354 1 319 384
Salmonids 880 018 5 753 590 107 431 753 163
Other fish 1 906 508 6 883 792 419 173 1 382 956
Crustaceans 628 078 4 717 244 66 991 406 790
Molluscs 634 206 2 718 821 48 308 306 873
Non-food use products 843 478 911 084 338 406 552 435
Total EU-28 6 016 791 24 393 100 1 865 662 4 721 601

Extra- and intra-EU trade (2016)
(value in billions of EUR)

Extra-EU imports
24.4

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extra eu export
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extra eu export
Intra-EU trade
23.6

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extra eu import
Alt Text : 
extra eu import
Extra-EU exports
4.7

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intra eu trade
Alt Text : 
intra eu trade
 

Source: Eurostat and Eumofa.

Trade of fisheries and aquaculture products between the European Union and non-EU countries – Main suppliers (2016)
(value in thousands of EUR and percentage of total)

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Copyrights : 
Main Suppliers Value %
Norway 6 328 931 25.9%
China 1 672 847 6.9%
Morocco 1 234 255 5.1%
Iceland 1 161 108 4.8%
Ecuador 1 127 892 4.6%
United States 1 085 185 4.4%
Vietnam 1 030 417 4.2%
India 943 481 3.9%
Argentina 663 724 2.7%
Faroe Islands 634 340 2.6%
Russia 557 179 2.3%
Other non-EU countries 7 953 740 32.6%
Total 23 393 100 100%
 

Source: Eurostat and Eumofa.

Trade of fisheries and aquaculture products between the European Union and non-EU countries – Main customers (2016)
(value in thousands of EUR and percentage of total)

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Copyrights : 
Main Customers Value %
United States 559 180 11.8%
Norway 496 224 10.5%
Switzerland 435 396 9.2%
China 362 516 7.7%
Japan 336 484 7.1%
Vietnam 224 280 4.8%
Nigeria 214 974 4.6%
South Korea 123 441 2.6%
Egypt 122 895 2.6%
Morocco 112 547 2.4%
Hong-Kong 106 072 2.2%
Other non-EU countries 1 627 591 34.5%
Total 4 721 601 100%
 

Source: Eurostat and Eumofa.

Trade of fisheries and aquaculture products between the European Union and non-EU countries (2016)
(value in thousands of EUR and percentage of total)

Main Member States importing from NON-EU countries
Sweden 4 233 959 17.4%
Spain 4 128 268 16.9%
Denmark 2 586 096 10.6%
United Kingdom 2 566 627 10.5%
Netherlands 2 181 111 8.9%
Italy 2 176 573 8.9%
France 1 911 812 7.8%
Germany 1 909 710 7.8%
Other Member States 2 698 943 11.1%
Total EU-28 24 393 100 100%
Main Member States exporting to NON-EU countries
Spain 831 137 17.6%
Denmark 799 909 16.9%
Netherlands 680 886 14.4%
United Kingdom 628 760 13.3%
France 382 125 8.1%
Germany 295 054 6.2%
Portugal 165 191 3.5%
Ireland 151 581 3.2%
Other Member States 786 955 16.7%
Total EU-28 4 721 601 100%
 

Source: Eurostat and Eumofa.

Imports and exports of fisheries and aquaculture products - Extra-EU trade (2016)
(volume in tonnes and value in thousands of EUR)

Member State IMPORTS EXPORTS
VOLUME VALUE VOLUME VALUE
BE 114 881 755 670 7 205 25 901
BG 10 520 19 322 2 734 18 006
CZ 16 343 42 898 2 226 7 658
DK 919 285 2 586 096 297 502 799 909
DE 556 197 1 909 710 123 589 295 054
EE 5 803 19 831 57 066 55 321
IE 55 853 33 900 103 033 151 581
EL 79 741 217 337 11 306 59 718
ES 1 083 351 4 128 268 386 902 831 137
FR 414 167 1 911 812 101 695 382 125
HR 9 875 25 744 16 476 73 833
IT 458 342 2 176 573 21 044 133 199
CY 8 016 34 982 4 780 27 057
LV 14 161 30 772 25 196 25 980
LT 58 761 143 323 14 606 21 793
LU 18 1 009 55 880
HU 2 915 6 486 1 451 4 014
MT 18 206 31 138 8 933 117 479
NL 525 001 2 181 111 440 476 680 886
AT 7 983 47 765 1 990 14 428
PL 200 996 487 105 31 729 108 695
PT 159 886 549 697 33 082 165 191
RO 14 953 35 891 1 414 5 290
SI 5 055 13 117 2 329 9 682
SK 6 263 12 719 404 1 053
FI 46 965 190 237 10 512 18 280
SE 706 846 4 233 959 10 166 58 689
UK 516 410 2 566 627 147 762 628 760
Total EU-28 6 016 791 24 393 100 1 865 662 4 721 601
 

Source: Eurostat and Eumofa.

Imports of fisheries and aquaculture products – Extra-EU trade (2016)
(value in thousands of EUR)

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Pelagic fish
Alt Text : 
Pelagic fish
Pelagic fish
ES 839 692
IT 588 990
FR 434 361
UK 409 714
NL 267 155
DE 251 664
PL 134 771
PT 98 696
Other Member States 383 527
Total EU-28 3 408 570

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Salmonids
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Salmonids
Salmonids
SE 3 513 893
DK 1 033 125
UK 340 220
DE 339 922
FI 138 929
FR 106 720
NL 58 761
PL 42 606
Other Member States 179 415
Total EU-28 5 753 590

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Other fish
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Other fish
Other fish

NL

1 156 336
UK 928 276
ES 853 378
DE 834 084
DK 705 550
SE 511 006
FR 487 495
IT 389 835
Other Member States 1 017 832
Total EU-28 6 883 792

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Crustaceans
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Crustaceans
Crustaceans
ES 1 047 561
UK 711 221
FR 668 640
NL 524 846
IT 432 697
DK 428 525
BE 362 708
DE 244 659
Other Member States 296 387
Total EU-28 4 717 244

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Molluscs
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Molluscs
Molluscs
ES 1 277 416
IT 720 854
FR 146 624
NL 122 618
PT 122 421
UK 92 341
EL 86 213
BE 53 315
Other Member States 97 019
Total EU-28 2 718 821
Non-food use products
DK 303 210
DE 203 213
UK 84 855
ES 68 579
FR 67 972
NL 51 396
EL 33 418
BE 29 768
Other Member States 68 672
Total EU-28 911 084
 

Source: Eurostat and Eumofa.

Exports of fisheries and aquaculture products - Extra-EU trade (2016)
(value in thousands of EUR)

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Pelagic fish
Alt Text : 
Pelagic fish
Pelagic fish
ES 425 747
NL 278 043
MT 117 079
FR 88 435
IE 79 640
IT 70 842
HR 52 419
UK 44 997
Other Member States 162 183
Total EU-28 1 319 384

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Salmonids
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Salmonids
Salmonids
UK 395 734
DK 66 413
NL 65 044
DE 56 176
PL 40 102
FR 39 423
SE 23 465
EE 10 745
Other Member States 56 062
Total EU-28 753 163

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Other fish
Alt Text : 
Other fish
Other fish
ES 268 393
DK 239 909
NL 191 827
FR 160 820
DE 107 677
PT 97 849
UK 56 275
EL 49 570
Other Member States 2 487 825
Total EU-28 1 382 956

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Crustaceans
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Crustaceans
Crustaceans
DK 141 011
NL 125 015
UK 41 728
FR 23 654
ES 19 212
EE 12 642
DE 11 836
PT 10 878
Other Member States 20 814
Total EU-28 406 790

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Molluscs
Alt Text : 
Molluscs
Molluscs
ES 99 783
FR 45 719
UK 44 769
IE 41 566
PT 22 521
BG 14 267
IT 13 518
NL 8 423
Other Member States 16 307
Total EU-28 306 873
Non-food use products
DK 330 835
DE 90 259
UK 45 257
FR 24 075
NL 12 535
IE 12 026
ES 10 434
BE 8 918
Other Member States 18 095
Total EU-28 552 435
 

Source: Eurostat and Eumofa.

6. Consumption

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Fisheries and aquaculture products are an important source of protein and a crucial component of a healthy diet. This is particularly true for the average European, who consumes 25.1 kg of fish or seafood per year (almost 4 kg more than in the rest of the world).

Consumption, however, varies greatly across the EU: from 4.8 kg per person in Hungary to 55.9 kg in Portugal.

Three quarters of the fish or seafood consumed in the EU come from wild fisheries, while the remaining quarter comes from aquaculture. The most popular species are tuna, cod and salmon.

Consumption of fisheries and aquaculture products (2015)
(quantity in live weight (kg/inhabitant/year))

PT 55.9
ES 45.2
FR 33.9
LU 32.0
MT 31.5
IT 28.4
SE 26.9
LV 26.3
EU-28 25.1
UK 24.3
BE 23.7
FI 23.3
DK 22.9
CY 22.7
NL 22.2
IE 22.1
HR 18.4
EL 17.3
ET 17.2
LT 14.9
PL 13.6
AT 13.4
DE 13.4
SI 10.7
SK 8.2
CZ 7.8
RO 6.2
BG 6.2
HU 4.8
 

Source: FAO, Eurostat and Eumofa.

Consumption of fisheries and aquaculture products in the major world economies (2013)
(quantity in live weight (kg/inhabitant/year))

Iceland 91.97
Norway 52.08
Japan 49.79
China 44.58
Russia 22.94
Canada 22.61
EU-28 24.69
United States 21.55
WORLD AVERAGE 21.20
Brazil 10.88
India 5.04
 

Source: FAO, Eurostat and Eumofa.

Main species consumed in the European Union (2015)
(quantity in live weight (kg/inhabitant/year))

Main commercial species Per capita (Kg) % wild % farmed
Tuna (mostly canned) 2.77 99% 1%
Cod 2.32 99% 1%
Salmon 2.17 0% 100%
Alaska pollock 1.55 100% 0%
Herring 1.38 100% 0%
Mussel 1.33 11% 89%
Mackerel 1.07 100% 0%
Hake 1.00 100% 0%
Squid 0.71 100% 0%
Tropical shrimps 0.67 24% 76%
 

Source: Eumofa, The EU fish market, 2017 edition.

7. European Union support

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Five European Structural and Investment Funds[1] support the economic development of the EU until 2020. One of them, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), is specifically tailored to Europe's seas and coasts. Its EUR 6.4 billion budget - 5.7 billion of which is managed by the Member States - focuses on underpinning the common fisheries policy (CFP) and making fisheries and aquaculture more sustainable and profitable. But the EMFF also invests in diversifying local economies for thriving maritime regions and inland fisheries and aquaculture areas.

In doing so, the EMFF does not prescribe how every cent should be spent. Instead the European Union allocates a share of the total budget to each country, and leaves it to national authorities - and local communities - to choose the projectes and solutions that work best for them.

 

[1] The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF), the Cohesion Fund (CF), the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF).

The EMFF has six main priorities

  • Sustainable fisheries (27%): to strike a balance between human fishing capacity and available natural resources, to fish more selectively and to reduce unintended catches.
  • Sustainable aquaculture (21%): to make the sector more successful and competitive by focusing on quality, health and safety, as well as eco-friendly production; and to provide consumers with high-quality, highly nutritional and trustworthy products.
  • Implementing the CFP (19.1 %): to improve data collection, scientific knowledge, control and enforcement of fisheries legislation.
  • Employment and territorial cohesion (9.1%): to help coastal and inland fisheries and aquaculture communities gain more value for their products and diversify their economies into other maritime fields such as tourism or direct sales.
  • Marketing and processing (17.5%): to improve market organisation, market intelligence and consumer information in the world's largest seafood market.
  • Implementing the integrated maritime policy (IMP) (1.2%): to improve marine knowledge, better plan activities at sea, promote cooperation in maritime surveillance and manage sea basins according to their individual needs.

The remaining 5.1% consists of technical assistance to help Member States to implement the above priorities.

In this way, the EMFF supports local initiatives aiming at rebuilding fish stocks, phasing out discards, collecting fisheries data and reducing human impact on the marine environment. It helps Member States check that fishermen, fish farmers and maritime communities correctly apply the relevant EU rules. The EMFF also envourages cross-border cooperation in maritime domains such as spatial planning and surveillance.

EMFF contribution – 2014-2020 programming period – Per priority
(in thousands of EUR and percentage of total)

Sustainable fisheries Sustainable aquaculture Implementation
of the CFP
Employment and territorial cohesion Marketing and processing Implementation
of the IMP
Technical assistance Total per MS % per MS
BE 14 375 6 725 14 245 0 4 101 1 000 1 300 41 746 0.73
BG 18 921 27 161 10 477 15 180 9 703 2 500 4 125 88 067 1.53
CZ 0 20 772 2 653 0 5 976 0 1 707 31 108 0.54
DK 74 150 25 750 70 546 7 518 19 868 2 500 8 022 208 355 3.62
DE 42 645 63 582 59 695 20 910 22 281 2 500 7 983 219 596 3.82
EE 19 325 13 402 11 655 23 600 24 664 2 500 5 824 100 970 1.76
IE 33 500 14 900 69 791 6 000 17 282 5 335 795 147 602 2.57
EL 128 025 67 319 70 433 46 000 59 777 4 446 12 778 388 778 6.76
ES 352 491 205 906 155 955 107 674 274 410 5 335 59 851 1 161 621 20.20
FR 150 941 88 790 122 279 22 581 163 236 5 335 34 818 587 980 10.23
HR 80 961 55 261 34 824 24 821 40 618 1 000 15 159 252 643 4.39
IT 180 516 100 965 102 429 42 426 74 235 4 446 32 247 537 263 9.34
CY 12 928 9 450 8 692 5 250 1 246 1 400 750 39 715 0.69
LV 35 700 34 700 11 148 12 750 35 536 2 500 7 500 139 834 2.43
LT 10 404 21 219 7 440 10 396 9 302 1 000 3 672 63 432 1.10
HU 2 541 25 768 2 451 0 7 984 0 352 39 096 0.68
MT 8 548 2 480 8 692 0 407 1 200 1 300 22 627 0.39
NL 36 240 4 920 49 460 0 3 424 2 500 4 980 101 523 1.77
AT 45 3 604 1 400 0 1 690 0 227 6 965 0.12
PL 130 176 201 740 23 627 79 700 61 603 2 500 31 873 531 219 9.24
PT 103 625 59 000 55 447 35 000 111 229 5 335 22 850 392 485 6.83
RO 13 204 84 258 12 943 33 684 11 766 2 500 10 067 168 421 2.93
SI 3 000 6 000 4 266 5 000 3 558 1 000 1 985 24 809 0.43
SK 0 9 407 1 400 0 4 041 0 937 15 785 0.27
FI 12 300 15 600 30 018 4 400 5 530 4 446 2 100 74 393 1.29
SE 22 042 11 871 60 401 8 343 7 189 4 446 5 864 120 156 2.09
UK 67 487 19 327 97 634 13 584 27 244 5 335 12 528 243 139 4.23
Total per priority 1 554 089 1 199 879 1 100 000 524 816 1 007 897 71 056 291 595 5 749 332 100
 

NB: Not relevant for LU.
Source: Member States' operational programmes. Situation as in January 2018.

To find out more

To find out more

European Commission websites

Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries:

Common Fisheries Policy

European Atlas of the Seas


Eumofa

Eumofa is an on-line multilingual database which provides access to real-time comprehensive data on price, value and volume of fisheries and aquaculture production across the EU as well as market information and analysis.

European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture products


Eurostat

Statistics on fisheries