As the science and knowledge service of the European Commission, the Joint Research Centre's mission is to support EU policies with independent evidence throughout the whole policy cycle.
Based on the analysis by the JRC on behalf of the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF), the European Commission has recently published its annual report on the European fishing fleet . The report shows some progress towards achieving a balance between fishing capacity and fishing opportunities, although further work remains to be done to ensure that stocks are managed in order to achieve a Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY).
Excessive fishing power is a major driver for overfishing. The recent reform of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) obliges Member States to adjust the fishing capacity of their fleets to their fishing opportunities over time.
The JRC has calculated technical, economic and biological indicators relevant to the balance between fleet capacity and fishing opportunities based on data submitted by Member States under the Data Collection Framework (DCF). The analysis includes 434 fleet segments where data for at least one indicator are available. These cover 97% of the reported value of landings made in 2011.
The indicators used for this report are related to the sustainable and viable operation of fishing fleets, such as whether fleets rely on stocks fished above MSY levels, or affect stocks at high biological risk, whether they are breaking even, economically sustainable or underutilised and whether they are inactive.
The STECF, of which the JRC constitutes the secretariat and to which it contributes with scientific expertise, has provided guidance to the Commission for the interpretation of these indicator values.
The provision of sound scientific advice to fisheries management is impossible without the availability of high-quality data on fish stocks, fishing activity and the fishing fleet. The JRC coordinates the scientific advice process of the Commission's advisory body, the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF). Moreover, the JRC collects, maintains and disseminates scientific fisheries data collected from EU Member States under the Data Collection Framework (DCF), which, after being assessed by teams of independent STECF experts, is used in the Common Fisheries Policy decision-making process.