Fishing fleet - trends
Assessment made on 01 Jan 2002
ClassificationFisheries (Primary theme)
Coasts and seas
Policy issue: EU policies aim through appropriate management of fisheries for sustainable fishing, over a long period of time within a sound ecosystem, while offering stable economic and social conditions for all those involved in the fishing activity.
EFTA fleet has decreased significantly in numbers (27 %)
The much smaller EFTA fishing fleet (1989-2000) has dramatically increased in tonnage (31 %) and in power (6 %)
The big EU 15 fishing fleet (1989-2000) has decreased in numbers of vessels (10 %), in tonnage (6 %) and power (12 %)
EU policies aim through appropriate management of fisheries for sustainable fishing, over a long period of time within a sound ecosystem, while offering stable economic and social conditions for all those involved in the fishing activity. Hence, not only the quantity of fish taken from the sea is important, but also their species and sizes, and, indeed, the techniques used in catching them and the areas where they are caught.
The size of the fishing fleet (number of vessels, tonnage and power) is an important factor in managing the fishing effort. Fishing capacity is defined in terms of tonnage and engine power but there are many parameters that determine the fishing mortality exerted by the fleet. In simple terms excess capacity leads to overfishing and increased environmental pressure.
First steps through (MAGPs) aimed at the restructuring the fleet and the reduction in its capacity. Currently effort is focused rather than capacity cuts, on reduction of fishing effort (defined as the product of the capacity of a fleet with the days spent at sea) by scrapping vessels or keeping them in port. However advances in technology and design may well mean that new vessels exert more fishing pressure than older vessels of equivalent tonnage and power.
It is currently believed that the fleet is much too large. In the MAGP IV the Council has decided a cut of 30 % in the fishing effort for stocks in the verge of collapse and 20 % for those that are overfished. The sustainability of the fish resources (i.e. stocks fished within safe biological limits) cannot be achieved solely by controlling the fleet capacity and fishing effort. Control must also be exerted on net mesh sizes, landing sizes, by- and incidental catches, use of selective gear and closed areas and seasons.
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For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe’s environment.
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