EU Science Hub

Record high profits for EU fishing fleet, new report finds

The sustainable exploitation of fish stocks was an important foundation for the strong economic performance.
The sustainable exploitation of fish stocks was an important foundation for the strong economic performance.
Oct 01 2018

The 2018 Annual Economic Report on the EU Fishing Fleet shows record-peak levels in economic performance of the EU fishing fleet in 2016 and closely links this achievement to the use of sustainable fishing methods.

Record high net profits for the EU fishing fleet

While marginally profitable in 2009, the EU fleet registered record-high net profits of EUR 1.3 billion in 2016, a 68% increase compared to 2015.

A positive forecast for 2017 and 2018 is in sight.

Continued improvements into 2016 were mainly a result of continued 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. In 2016, fuel costs were 12% of the total revenue, compared to 24% in 2008, largely reflecting the low fuel prices seen over most of the period analysed. 


The 2018 Annual Economic Report  on the EU Fishing Fleet (AER) is the product of combined work by independent economic experts from the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee of Fisheries (STECF) and the Commission (JRC and Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries), based on official data provided by national authorities under the EU Data Collection Framework (DCF).

The AER has become the most comprehensive source of economic data and analysis on the performance of the EU fishing fleets.  

It responds to different needs in policy analysis and policy making. It offers, for example, reference data for impact assessments of management plans; for building indicators of overcapacity; to support the evaluation of conservation measures; as context indicators in the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund; to provide evidence when assessing the impacts of structural policies.