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The Joint Research Centre (JRC) is the European Commission's science and knowledge service which employs scientists to carry out research in order to provide independent scientific advice and support to EU policy.
In 2018, the EU fishing fleet numbered 81 199 vessels with a combined gross tonnage of 1.56 million tonnes and engine power of 6.3 million kilowatts. Based on data submitted by Member States under the EU MAP, there were 63 593 active vessels in 2018. Direct employment generated by the fleet amounted to 146 906 fishers, corresponding to 105 851 FTEs; on average earning EUR 24 287 in wages, annually. The EU fleet spent 6.5 million days-at-sea and consumed 2.3 billion litres of fuel to land 5.2 million tonnes of seafood with a reported value of EUR 7.7 billion. The Gross Value Added (GVA) and Gross Profit (all excl. subsidies and fishing rights) was estimated at EUR 4.3 billion and EUR 1.8 billion, respectively. GVA as a proportion of revenue was estimated at 55% and gross profit margin at 23%. With a total net profit of almost EUR 1 billion in 2018, 12% of the revenue was retained as profit. These results indicate a deterioration compared to 2017 while nowcast estimates suggest that the performance of the EU fishing fleet improved in 2019, rebounding back to levels seen in 2016, to then deteriorate in 2020 mainly due to the COIVD-19 crisis. This publication includes: 1) a structural and economic overview of the EU fishing fleet in 2018 and trend analyses for the years 2008-2020 where possible (nowcasts for 2019 and 2020); a regional analysis of the EU fishing fleet by major sea basin, as well as, fleets operating in Other Fishing Regions; 3) a detailed structural and economic overview of each Member State fishing fleet, including qualitative economic performance assessments for 2018 and nowcasts for 2019 and 2020.