Karmenu Vella, Commissioner for environment, maritime affairs and fisheries, said: "It is encouraging to see an ongoing positive trend, which has led to higher profits for the fishing sector and more value added for the EU's fishing and coastal communities. This clearly demonstrates that our joint commitment towards sustainability pays off. The Ministerial Declaration just signed in Malta between EU member states and third countries from the Mediterranean and Black Sea offers a 10-year Action Plan so that their small-scale coastal fleets can also benefit from this positive trend."
The 2018 Annual Economic Report on the EU Fishing Fleet points to a significantly improved economic performance of the EU fishing fleet from 2009 onwards. The EU fleet registered record-high net profits of EUR 1.3 billion in 2016, a 68% increase compared to 2015. Moreover, forecasts for 2017 and 2018 are looking positive. Continued improvements into 2016 were mainly a result of low fuel prices and higher average fish prices (more value for less quantity landed). The positive economic development of the EU fishing fleet is also closely linked to the sustainable exploitation of fish stocks. The report indicates that economic performance stagnates where fleets depend on stocks that are still overfished or overexploited. Fleets that fish sustainably, ever growing in numbers, have seen clear improvements in their profitability.
In 2016, the EU fleet's gross added value, (i.e. the contribution of the fishing sector to the economy through wages and gross profit) amounted to EUR 4.3 billion, a 15% increase compared to 2015. This has led to an increase in the average salaries of the EU fleet employees. Since the large majority of vessels operate in a more efficient and environmentally friendly way, fuel consumption has decreased.
The 2018 Annual Economic Report on the EU Fishing Fleet is based on data provided by national authorities and the result of combined work by economic experts from the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee of Fisheries (STECF) and the European Commission.