The latest Annual Economic Report on the EU Fishing Fleet has been released showing a profitable fishing fleet in 2020, despite the effects of COVID-19. In 2008, the EU fishing fleet was barely breaking even and ten years later it registered a net profit of EUR 800 million. This significant progress was the result of higher average fish prices, lower fuel costs, and improved stocks of important species. This trend continued into 2019. The COVID-19 outbreak in 2020 interrupted the trend with estimates suggesting that the economic performance of the EU fleets decreased by 17% in landed value, 19% in employment and 29% in net profits compared to 2019.
Despite the impact of COVID-19, projections indicate that the EU fleet is resilient and would end 2020 with a reasonable level of profitability as a result of the efforts made by the sector in the previous years. This includes fishing to the maximum sustainability yield combined with low fuel prices.
The large-scale and distant-water fleets performed economically better than the small-scale coastal fleet segments and the fleets operating in the North Eastern Atlantic, where most fished stocks are sustainable managed, registered higher profits than fleets operating in the Mediterranean, where numerous stocks still face overexploitation.
The Annual Economic Reports on the EU Fishing Fleet is produced by economic experts from the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee of Fisheries (STECF) and the European Commission. The report is available here: https://stecf.jrc.ec.europa.eu/reports/economic/-/asset_publisher/d7Ie/document/id/2788167