According to the recent 2022 Annual Economic Report on the EU Fishing Fleet, EU fisheries are expected to struggle to maintain profitability following sharp increases in energy costs and inflation in 2022.
The EU fishing fleet as a whole may end this year in a loss-making position. This projection does not take account the EU financial support and national State aid that could be provided to mitigate the socio-economic impacts of the continued increase in energy prices and inflation.
The results in this report also show that the objectives of sustainable fishing and energy transition are mutually reinforcing and necessary to ensure the long-term socio-economic viability of the EU fishing sector.
In addition to its projections for 2022, the report also looks back at 2020 when the sector was severely affected by Covid-19. The effects of the pandemic and factors such as the UK’s departure from the European Union have compounded the adverse effects on some fleet sectors more than others.
Both large and small-scale coastal fleets maintained overall profitability during 2020, despite a decrease in gross profit margins. In the wake of the military aggression of Russia in Ukraine, fuel prices increased significantly during this year, with fuel prices hitting a peak in July at almost double their 2021 levels, resulting in a steep rise in operating costs.
As Russia’s aggression in Ukraine began, the EU took action to support the sector by instituting a crisis mechanism allowing specific support to be provided under the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF), implementing new State aid Temporary Crisis Framework and a modification of the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) to offer specific support possibilities.
Economic evidence suggests that fleet segments which depend on sustainably exploited fishing stocks and which have managed to increase their energy efficiency or lower their fuel use intensity in previous years have demonstrated a greater resilience in an industry sector that consumes almost 2 billion litres of fuel annually.
The Annual Economic Reports on the EU Fishing Fleet provide an overview of the structure and economic performance of the EU’s 22 coastal Member State fishing fleets.
This is the result of combined work by economic experts from the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee of Fisheries (STECF) and the European Commission.