Fisheries facts and figures

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 6 metres to over 75 metres. Under EU law the total capacity of the fishing fleet needs to remain below set ceilings. Any decommissioning of vessels or reduction in fleet capacity achieved with public financial support must be permanent.

EU fishing fleet capacity by length category (2019)
  Length

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Number of vessels

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Gross tonnage

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Engine power in kW
Average age IN YEARS

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< 12 69 480 174 778 2 484 888 32.5

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12-24 9 306 379 159 1 705 293 31.0

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> 24 2 467 996 982 1 875 016 26.3
TOTAL 81 253 1 550 919 6 065 198 29.9
 

NB: Length refers to total length.
Source: EU fleet register. Situation as at December 2019.

Over the past several years the capacity of the EU fishing fleet has continued to decline in terms of both tonnage and engine power. The number of EU vessels in 2019 was 81 253, i.e. 5 505 fewer than in 2013. Nevertheless, the capacity of several fleet segments in the Member States is still not in balance with their fishing opportunities. The Member States concerned must adopt action plans to remedy this situation.

Healthier stocks contribute to a more sustainable industry. Overall, the EU fleet was profitable in 2019. This consolidates the gradual recovery in recent years, during which both gross profit and net profit margin of the fleet have shown an upward trend.

EU fishing fleet (2019)

  Number of vessels % Gross tonnage % Engine power in kW %
BE 68

0.1%

12 914 0.8% 42 808 0.7%
BG 1 842 2.3% 6 044 0.4% 53 703 0.9%
DK 2 082 2.6% 71 541 4.6% 209 335 3.5%
DE 1 315 1.6% 57 732 3.7% 129 328 2.1%
EE 1 743 2.1% 15 715 1.0% 46 778 0.8%
IE 1 924 2.4% 61 156 3.9% 179 462 3.0%
EL 14 934 18.4% 71 104 4.6% 426 431 7.0%
ES 8 886 10.9% 332 787 21.5% 777 264 12.8%
FR 6 262 7.7% 173 974 11.2% 960 746 15.8%
HR 7 605 9.4% 44 036 2.8% 345 090 5.7%
IT 12 060 14.8% 146 271 9.4% 930 502 15.3%
CY 811 1.0% 3 712 0.2% 38 729 0.6%
LV 670 0.8% 17 991 1.2% 35 737 0.6%
LT 139 0.2% 40 658 2.6% 47 300 0.8%
MT 916 1.1% 6 502 0.4% 72 956 1.2%
NL 731 0.9% 99 091 6.4% 245 470 4.0%
PL 827 1.0% 32 326 2.1% 80 220 1.3%
PT 7 791 9.6% 86 945 5.6% 344 925 5.7%
RO 165 0.2% 1 533 0.1% 6 350 0.1%
SI 137 0.2% 673 0.04% 8 801 0.1%
FI 3 201 3.9% 15 619 1.0% 170 547 2.8%
SE 1 211 1.5% 24 547 1.6% 143 753 2.4%
UK 5 933 7.3% 228 047 14.7% 768 963 12.7%
EU-28 81 253 100% 1 550 919 100% 6 065 198 100%
 

Source: EU fleet register. Situation as at December 2019.

Evolution of EU fishing fleet capacity between 1996 and 2019

 

Source: EU fleet register.

EU fishing fleet economic performance indicators between 2010 and 2017

3. Employment

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Fishing plays a crucial role in 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 quarter of total employment, and the three countries with the highest levels of employment – Spain, Greece and Italy – make up around 65%.

Aquaculture employs roughly 75 000 people, including part-time and full-time jobs in both marine and freshwater aquaculture.

The processing industry consists of approximately 3 500 companies. The mainstay of EU production is canned products and ready meals consisting of fish, crustaceans and molluscs.

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

Fisheries (2017) 
BE 214
BG 716
CZ  (*)
DK 1 644
DE 1 207
EE  (*) 460
IE 2 608
EL 20 542
ES 29 203
FR  (*) 6 623
HR 1 665
IT 20 268
CY 689
LV 326
LT 348
HU  (*) -
MT 719
NL  (*) 1 723
AT  (*) -
PL 2 484
PT  (*) 7 823
RO 60
SI 63
SK -
FI 271
SE 793
UK 7 358
Aquaculture (2016)
BE 3
BG 923
CZ  (*) 904
DK 366
DE 983
EE  (*) 34
IE 1 027
EL 3 482
ES 6 534
FR  (*) 8 837
HR 1 625
IT 3 289
CY 459
LV 169
LT 301
HU  (*) 1 274
MT 256
NL  (*) 206
AT  (*) 171
PL 5 256
PT  (*) 829
RO 2 912
SI 20
SK 385
FI 341
SE 295
UK 2 802
Processing (2017) 
BE 1 373
BG 1 490
CZ (*) 741
DK 3 153
DE 5 885
EE  (*) 1 348
IE 3 138
EL 2 130
ES 19 826
FR (*) 11 021
HR 1 672
IT 4 568
CY 14
LV 3 125
LT 3 744
HU  (*) 14
MT 72
NL  (*) 2 227
AT  (*) 117
PL 17 578
PT  (*) 7 415
RO 1 006
SI (2) 130
SK 569
FI 760
SE 1 591
UK 19 118

4. Fisheries and aquaculture production

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The EU is the fifth largest producer worldwide, accounting for about 3.3% of global fisheries and aquaculture production. 80% of this 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 (2017)
(catches and aquaculture)

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

Country

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catches
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catches
CATCHES

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aquaculture
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aquaculture
Aquaculture
Total production % total
China 15 576 64 358 79 935 38.93%
Indonesia 6 736 15 896 22 632 11.02%
India 5 450 6 182 11 632 5.669%
Vietnam 3 277 3 831 7 108 3.465%
EU-28 5 428 1 372 6 800 3.31%
United States 5 040 439 5 480 2.67%
Russia 4 878 186 5 065 2.47%
Japan 3 274 1 021 4 295 2.09%
Peru 4 185 100 4 285 2.09%
Bangladesh 1 801 2 333 4 134 2.01%
Philippines 1 889 2 237 4 127 2.01%
Norway 2 533 1 308 3 841 1.87%
South Korea 1 365 2 306 3 672 1.79%
Chile 2 334 1 219 3 554 1.73%
Myanmar/Burma 2 150 1 048 3 199 1.56%
Thailand 1 479 889 2 369 1.15%
Others 25 979 7 232 33 211 16.17%
Total 93 381 111 965 205 346 100%
 

NB: FAO estimates for non-EU countries.
Source: Eumofa, based on Eurostat and 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 32.3 billion in 2018. Norway, China, Ecuador and Morocco are the EU’s main suppliers, while the United States, China, Switzerland and Norway are the EU’s main customers.

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

In 2018 exports to non-EU countries increased to EUR 5.75 billion. Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom are the leading exporting Member States.

Trade between Member States is very significant, totalling EUR 27.26 billion in 2018. The main exporters to other 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 EU Member States and non-EU countries (2018)
(volume in tonnes and value in thousand EUR)

  IMPORTS EXPORTS
VOLUME VALUE VOLUME VALUE
Pelagic fish 1 203 345 3 997 165 968 658 1 534 853
Salmonids 948 887 6 251 165 118 264 1 034 530
Other fish 2 055 241 7 388 591 629 712 1 680 882
Crustaceans 645 795 4 785 854 98 588 608 048
Molluscs 650 214 3 199 356 65 774 431 593
Non-food use products 818 593 904 416 319 652 459 823
Total EU-28 6 322 074 26 526 547 2 200 647 5 749 729

 

Extra- and intra-EU trade (2018)
(value in billion EUR)

Extra-EU imports
26.53

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extra eu export
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extra eu export
Intra-EU trade
27.26

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extra eu import
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extra eu import
Extra-EU exports
5.75

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intra eu trade
Alt Text : 
intra eu trade
 

Source: Eurostat and Eumofa.

Trade of fisheries and aquaculture products between EU Member States and non-EU countries – main suppliers (2018)
(value in thousand EUR and percentage of total)

Value of EU-28 imports from the main suppliers

Value of EU-28 imports from the main suppliers

Main Suppliers Value %
Norway 6 941 729 26.2%
China 1 853 026 7.0%
Ecuador 1 316 318 5.0%
Morocco 1 315 320 5.0%
Iceland 1 298 784 4.9%
Vietnam 1 184 921 4.5%
United States 973 575 3.7%
India 841 295 3.2%
Russia 689 014 2.6%
Argentina 672 867 2.5%
Faroes 569 071 2.1%
Other non-EU countries 8 870 627 33.4%
Total 26 526 547 100%
 

Source: Eurostat and Eumofa.

Trade of fisheries and aquaculture products between EU Member States and non-EU countries – main customers (2018)
(value in thousand EUR and percentage of total)

Value of EU-28 exports to the main customers

Main Customers Value %
United States 792 112.82 13.8%
China 733 161.24 12.8%
Switzerland 489 753.40 8.5%
Norway 478 379.12 8.3%
Japan 394 320.43 6.9%
Nigeria 235 378.96 4.1%
Morocco 175 890.36 3.1%
South Korea 131 729.14 2.3%
Vietnam 128 569.15 2.2%
Canada 118 512.42 2.1%
Unkraine 113 017.65 2.0%
Other non-EU countries 1 958 904.77 34.1%
Total 5 749 729.46 100%
 

Source: Eurostat and Eumofa.

Trade of fisheries and aquaculture products between EU Member States and non-EU countries (2018)
(value in thousand EUR and percentage of total)

Main Member States importing from NON-EU countries
Spain 4 852 700 18.3%
Sweden 4 299 553 16.2%
Denmark 2 784 066 10.5%
Netherlands 2 528 938 9.5%
United Kingdom 2 516 073 9.5%
Italy 2 364 949 8.9%
France 2 074 315 7.8%
Germany 1 770 315 6.7%
Other Member States 3 335 638 12.6%
Total EU-28 26 526 547 100%
Main Member States exporting to NON-EU countries
Spain 1 102 806 19.2%
Denmark 1 051 177 18.3%
Netherlands 832 725 14.5%
United Kingdom 640 460 11.1%
France 387 925 6.7%
Germany 342 892 6.0%
Portugal 199 357 3.5%
Poland 196 630 3.4%
Other Member States 995 759 17.3%
Total EU-28 5 749 729 100%
 

Source: Eurostat and Eumofa.

Imports and exports of fisheries and aquaculture products - extra-EU trade (2018)
(volume in tonnes and value in thousand EUR)

Member State IMPORTS EXPORTS
VOLUME VALUE VOLUME VALUE
BE 129 805 746 367 12 289 38 315
BG 12 541 26 697 2 549 17 091
CZ 15 024 49 208 1 721 7 181
DK 940 687 2 784 066 395 825 1 051 177
DE 502 761 1 770 3150 90 552 342 892
EE 7 379 30 177 69 770 54 841
IE 101 964 36 373 155 704 195 735
EL 101 587 325 063 12 694 57 559
ES 1 158 169 4 852 700 458 691 1 102 806
FR 451 982 2 074 315 110 175 387 925
HR 9 473 25 413 17 880 81 258
IT 453 995 2 364 949 23 278 156 510
CY 7 400 37 363 4 828 28 567
LV 16 363 36 378 33 360 46 281
LT 58 443 161 296 17 698 37 400
LU 24 1 205 105 1 321
HU 3 274 8 260 1 137 3 545
MT 31 776 69 607 11 260 138 531
NL 550 784 2 528 938 534 220 832 725
AT 7 254 42 661 1 965 18 608
PL 231 192 661 312 54 347 196 630
PT 182 516 700 029 42 643 199 357
RO 16 489 44 759 1 273 6 669
SI 3 835 10 633 2 464 10 577
SK 6 554 15 947 553 1 496
FI 70 373 306 892 5 082 11 155
SE 724 002 4 299 553 14 834 83 120
UK 526 430 2 516 073 123 749 640 460
Total EU-28 6 322 074 26 526 547 2 200 647 5 749 729
 

Source: Eurostat and Eumofa.

Imports of fisheries and aquaculture products – extra-EU trade (2018)
(value in thousand EUR)

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Pelagic fish
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Pelagic fish
Pelagic fish
ES 1 141 267
IT 660 501
FR 497 073
UK 445 192
DE 321 702
NL 290 400
PL 114 753
PT 114 192
Other Member States 412 086
Total EU-28 3 997 165

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Salmonids
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Salmonids
Salmonids
SE 3 527 116
DK 1 183 830
UK 298 872
DE 270 978
FI 256 112
PL 212 119
FR 136 153
NL 130 736
Other Member States 235 248
Total EU-28 6 251 165

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Other fish
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Other fish
Other fish

NL

1 326 098
UK 938 193
ES 887 884
DE 786 710
DK 786 632
SE 554 825
FR 529 916
IT 423 420
Other Member States 1 154 913
Total EU-28 7 388 591

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Crustaceans
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Crustaceans
Crustaceans
ES 1 005 776
FR 651 400
UK 641 382
NL 632 648
DK 452 312
IT 451 093
BE 365 247
DE 233 655
Other Member States 352 342
Total EU-28 4 785 854

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Molluscs
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Molluscs
Molluscs
ES 1 693 975
IT 775 291
PT 176 127
FR 175 146
EL 98 744
NL 91 707
UK 64 003
DE 33 432
Other Member States 90 930
Total EU-28 3 199 356
Non-food use products
DK 264 055
UK 128 430
DE 123 839
FR 84 626
ES 74 126
NL 57 348
BE 51 686
EL 44 360
Other Member States 75 947
Total EU-28 904 416
 

Source: Eurostat and Eumofa.

Exports of fisheries and aquaculture products - extra-EU trade (2018)
(value in thousand EUR)

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Pelagic fish
Alt Text : 
Pelagic fish
Pelagic fish
ES 561 786
NL 242 528
MT 116 706
FR 100 939
IT 84 887
IE 84 748
HR 56 219
PL 48 509
Other Member States 238 531
Total EU-28 1 534 853

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Salmonids
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Salmonids
Salmonids
UK 380 298
DE 163 061
DK 155 490
NL 114 682
PL 85 254
FR 50 369
SE 23 454
AT 12 027
Other Member States 49 895
Total EU-28 1 034 530

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Other fish
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Other fish
Other fish
NL 317 667
ES 292 247
DK 277 879
FR 128 780
PT 120 606
DE 115 411
UK 75 788
PL 54 302
Other Member States 298 202
Total EU-28 1 680 882

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Crustaceans
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Crustaceans
Crustaceans
DK 254 197
NL 136 735
UK 89 521
ES 32 985
IE 19 311
FR 16 701
DE 13 648
EE 13 396
Other Member States 31 554
Total EU-28 608 048

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Molluscs
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Molluscs
Molluscs
ES 192 924
FR 62 592
UK 45 714
IE 40 710
PT 28 561
IT 15 905
BG 13 312
NL 9 729
Other Member States 22 147
Total EU-28 431 593
Non-food use products
DK 309 965
FR 28 545
IE 22 713
UK 20 386
BE 17 920
DE 15 957
ES 15 343
NL 11 384
Other Member States 17 612
Total EU-28 459 823
 

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 person living in the EU, who consumes 24.4 kg of fish or seafood per year (4 kg more than in the rest of the world).

Consumption, however, varies greatly across the EU: from 4.8 kg per person per year in Hungary to 56.9 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 (2017)
(quantity in live weight (kg/inhabitant/year))

PT 56.8
ES 45.6
MT 37.0
FR 33.7
LU 33.7
IT 30.9
DK 27.0
SE 26.6
LV 24.9
EU-28 24.4
CY 23.9
BE 23.8
FI 23.1
IE 23.0
UK 22.9
NL 21.1
HR 18.7
EL 18.2
ET 16.3
LT 15.6
PL 15.0
DE 13.4
AT 13.2
SI 11.7
SK 9.0
CZ 8.2
RO 7.9
BG 7.3
HU 5.6
 

Source: Eumofa, The EU Fish Market, 2019 edition.

Consumption of fisheries and aquaculture products in the major world economies (2017)
(quantity in live weight (kg/inhabitant/year))

Norway 54.35
Japan 48.90
China 39.12
EU-28 24.35
United States 23.35
Canada 22.05
WORLD AVERAGE 20.40
Brazil 9.38
India 7.27
 

Source: FAO, Eurostat and Eumofa.

Main species consumed in the European Union (2017)
(quantity in live weight (kg/inhabitant/year))

Main commercial species Per capita (Kg) % wild % farmed
Tuna (mostly canned) 3.07 99% 1%
Cod 2.31 100% 0%
Salmon 2.24 0% 100%
Alaska pollock 1.59 100% 0%
Shrimps 1.51 51% 49%
Mussel 1.28 8% 92%
Herring 1.18 100% 0%
Hake 0.94 100% 0%
Squid 0.67 100% 0%
Mackerel 0.65 100% 0%
 

Source: Eumofa, The EU Fish Market, 2019 edition.

7. European Union support

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Five European Structural and Investment Funds[*] 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 CFP and making fisheries and aquaculture more sustainable and profitable. But the EMFF also invests in diversifying local economies, to ensure thriving maritime regions, inland fisheries and aquaculture areas.

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

 

[*] 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 (26.3%). To strike a balance between human fishing capacity and available natural resources, to fish more selectively and to reduce unintended catches.
  • Sustainable aquaculture (20%). 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 (19.4%): To improve data collection, scientific knowledge, control and enforcement of fisheries legislation.
  • Employment and territorial cohesion (9.6%). 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 (18.4%): To improve market organisation, market intelligence and consumer information in the world's largest seafood market.
  • Implementing the integrated maritime policy (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 5.2% 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 fishers, 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 thousand 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 4 161 940 1 300 41 746 0.73
BG 14 424 25 531  9 826 16 119 8 471 2 325 4 125 80 824 1.42
CZ 0 22 647 2 653 0 4 100 0 1 707 31 108 0.55
DK 79 017 22 019 70 546 7 518 14 839 2 500 11 914 208 355 3.66
DE 52 250 63 097 59 695 21 810 11 631 2 500 8 613 219 596 3.86
EE 16 755 7 172 13 962 26 282 28 648 2 325 5 824 100 970 1.78
IE 27 795 14 900 69 791 6 000 19 782 5 335 4 000 147 602 2.60
EL 119 025 62 394 70 433 59 925 59 777 4 446 12 778 388 778 6.84
ES 300 323 189 051 154 233 109 255 288 725 5 218 64 822 1 111 628 19.55
FR 121 918 122 647 123 003 21 128 170 106 4 991 24 184 587 980 10.34
HR 84 329 51 514 34 824 23 548 42 268 1 000 15 159 252 643 4.44
IT 187 329 76 266 102 429 42 888 91 657 4 446 32 247 537 263 9.45
CY 13 598 8 491 9 006 4 935 1 158 1 400 1 125 39 715 0.70
LV 43 907 32 523 10 367 12 750 30 286 2 500 7 500 139 834 2.46
LT 11 209 18 199 7 960 9 875 11 585 930 3 672 63 432 1.12
HU 1 703 24 709 2 451 0 9 196 0 352 38 412 0.68
MT 8 548 2 319 8 692 0 407 1 360 1 300 22 627 0.40
NL 31 182 5 962 51 938 0 4 959 2 500 4 980 101 523 1.79
AT 33 4 103 1 400 0 1 287 0 140 6 965 0.12
PL 169 117 162 948 23 627 79 700 61 603 2 350 31 873 531 219 9.34
PT 89 625 65 000 55 447 32 710 121 518 5 335 22 850 392 485 6.90
RO 4 752 89 489 12 943 37 428 11 240 2 500 10 067 168 421 2.96
SI 2 649 4 880 3 798 5 809 3 181 617 1 985 22 920 0.40
SK 0 7 581 1 057 0 3 377 0 937 12 953 0.23
FI 13 245 13 327 30 018 3 926 6 770 4 446 2 659 74 393 1.31
SE 23 658 11 871 60 401 8 343 5 573 4 446 5 864 120 156 2.11
UK 67 487 19 327 97 634 13 584 27 244 5 335 12 528 243 139 4.28
Total per priority 1 498 262 1 134 700 1 102 384 543 537 1 043 554 69 743 294 507 5 686 691 100
 

NB: Not relevant for LU.
Source: Member States' operational programmes. Situation as in December 2019.

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