Indicator fact sheet Fishing fleet trends

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1 Indicator fact sheet Fishing fleet trends Key message: The big EU 15 fishing fleet ( ) has decreased in numbers of vessels (10 %), in tonnage (6 %) and power (12 %) The much smaller EFTA fishing fleet ( ) has dramatically increased in tonnage (31 %) and in power (6 %) But EFTA fleet has decreased significantly in numbers (27 %) Figure 1: Size of the European fishing fleet in numbers of vessels, their total tonnage and their total engine power. 1

2 European fishing fleet, No of vessels EU EU 15 ECC EFTA EFTA, ECC European fishing fleet, tonnage EU ECC & EFTA EU15 ECC EFTA 0 2

3 European fishing fleet, power KW EU-15 EFTA NB: EFTA countries: Norway and Iceland ECC countries. ECC stands for European Union candidate countries: Bulgaria, Cyprus, Malta, Poland, Romania, and Slovenia. (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were not included in the graphs due to limited time series). Sources: Eurostat 2001, FAO1998, Fisheries DG, 1999, data compiled by ETC Water. Results and assessment Policy relevance: target or objective for the indicator 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. Policy context (relevance of the indicator with reference to specific policy processes) Sustainable exploitation of the fish stocks is ensured through the EU common fishery policy (OJ C ). Through the multiannual guidance programmes (MAGPs) an effort is being made to achieve a sustainable balance between the fleet and available resources. Commission Regulation (EC) No 2091/98 of 30 September 1998 deals with the segmentation of the Community fishing fleet and fishing effort in relation to the multiannual guidance programmes. Council Regulation (EC) 2792/1999 is laying down the detailed rules and arrangements regarding Community structural assistance in the fisheries sector mainly through the Structural Funds and the Financial Instrument for Fisheries. However, such subsidies for construction/modernisation and running costs may have aggravated the pressure on the fishing stocks. Environmental context: (scientific soundness and choice and definition of the indicator) 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. 3

4 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. Assessment 1. Number of vessels It appears that the number of vessels is not the primary factor determining the capacity of a fleet. The current state (2000) of fishing fleet accounts for vessels in EU 15 countries and in EFTA. In the last recorded census for EU Candidate Countries (1995) there were reported only vessels (this figure includes vessels of Latvia and Lithuania not shown in the graph). Since 1989 the large EU-15 fleet has been decreased by 10 %. The much smaller fleet of EFTA countries shows a gradual decrease resulting in a 27 % cut by For the few vessels of EU candidate countries the trend is an increasing by 8 %. Greece, Italy and Spain retain the largest number of vessels in their fleets throughout this period (Figure 2). Comparing this to the tonnage and power data it is evident that the Greek fleet consists mainly of small vessels. Figure 2. Percentage of fleet size in numbers of vessels by major countries in 2000 (Eurostat, 2001) 21% 18% 8% 16% 10% 12% 15% Greece Italy Spain Norway Portugal United Kingdom Other 4

5 2. Tonnage As stated before tonnage (and power) is one of the main factors determining the capacity of a fleet and thus the pressure exerted to the fish stocks. In this context, excess tonnage is one of the major factors leading to overfishing The current state (2000) of fishing fleet accounts for tonnes in EU-15 countries and tonnes in EFTA. In the last recorded census for ECC countries (1995) there were reported (this figure includes vessels of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania not shown in the graph). Since 1989 EU 15 fleet tonnage has been decreased by 7 %. The tonnage of the fleet of EFTA countries shows a significant gradual increase of 31 % by For the ECC countries a strong decrease has been observed in the first half of 1990s. Spain, Norway, United Kingdom, and Italy retain the largest fleets throughout this period (Figure 3). Figure 3. Percentage of fleet size in tonnage by major countries in 2000 (Eurostat, 2001) 20% 46% 15% 9% 10% Spain Norway United Kingdom Italy Other 3. Power As stated before power (and tonnage) are the main factors determining the capacity of a fleet and thus the pressure exerted to the fish stocks. In this context, excess power is one of the major factors leading to overfishing. In 2000 the total power (KW) of the fishing fleet amounts to in EU-15 countries and in EFTA. Information for accession countries is not available. Since 1989 EU 15 fleet power has gradually decreased by 12 %. Without taking into account EFTA (no data), Spain, Italy, France and the UK retained the largest power of their fleets (Table 3) According to Eurostat in 2000, Norway has the highest power (23 % of the total). 5

6 Figure 4. Percentage of fleet size in power by major countries (Eurostat, 2001) 36% 19% 17% 14% 14% Italy Spain France United Kingdom Others In summary, EU policy by restructuring the sector has succeeded in enforcing a decreasing trend in the fisheries fleet. However, MAGPs have been proven not ambitious enough to address excess fleet capacity; they were not always enforced and were complex to administer. References Cross, David, 2001, EEA Fishing fleet in 2000, Statistics in Focus. Eurostat: FAO, 1998 Fishery Fleet Statistics, Bulletin of Fishery Statistics, 35, Fisheries DG, 1999, Fleet, Statistical Bulletin, Data Table 1: European fleet in terms of number of vessels Belgium Bulgaria( 1 ) Cyprus Denmark Estonia Germany Greece Spain Finland France Iceland Ireland Italy

7 Latvia( 1 ) Lithuania Malta Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Romania Slovenia( 1 ) Sweden United Kingdom Note: ( 1 ) Estimated values Table 2: European fleet in terms of tonnage Belgium Bulgaria Cyprus Denmark Estonia Germany Greece Spain Finland France Iceland Ireland Italy Latvia Lithuania Malta Netherlands Norway Poland Portugal Romania Slovenia Sweden United Kingdom Table 3: European fleet in terms of power -KW Belgium Denmark Germany Greece Spain Finland France

8 Ireland Italy Netherlands Portugal Sweden United Kingdom EFTA Source: Fisheries DG, 1999, Fleet, Statistical Bulletin. FAO, 1998, Fishery fleet statistics, Bulletin of Fishery Statistics, 35. Cross, David, 2000, EEA Fishing fleet in 2000, Statistics in Focus. Spreadsheet file: ESR2002 EEA fishing fleet Vessels ESR2002 EEA fishing fleet Tonnage ESR2002 EEA fishing fleet Power Meta data Technical information 1. Data source: Cross, David, 2000, EEA fishing fleet in 2000, Statistics in Focus, Eurostat FAO, 1998, Fishery Fleet Statistics, Bulletin of Fishery Statistics, 35. Fisheries DG, 1999, Fleet, Statistical Bulletin. 2. Description of data: Sources mentioned above describe the state of the fishing fleet. The Fisheries DG and Eurostat cover number of vessels, tonnage and power of the fleet, whereas FAO does not cover the power. The Fisheries DG and Eurostat data have been used as presented in the respective tables, whereas for FAO data values, the total number of vessels had to be calculated.(by adding number of vessels with number of vessels for which GRT is not known). 3. Geographical coverage: EU-15 + EFTA 2 + ECC (Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Malta, Poland,Romania, Slovenia) 4. Temporal coverage: EU-15 is covered annually by the Fisheries DG: ECC and EFTA covered annually: by FAO Eurostat covers EU-15 and EFTA Quality of information 8

9 8. Reliability, accuracy, robustness, uncertainty (at data level): Data sets fragmented both temporally and spatially. Data sets do not always coincide 9.Overall scoring (give 1 to 3 points: 1 = no major problems, 3 = major reservations): Relevancy:1 Accuracy:2 Comparability over time: 2 Comparability over space:2+ Further work required Despite the aforementioned handicaps, the indicator is a significant tool for the proper and sustainable management of the fisheries through the regulation of the fishing fleet. A uniform data base should be developed to cover the whole area. FAO should also cover power of vessels and update its sources more frequently, whereas Eurostat could produce data with wider temporal cover. 9

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