Sustainable fishing has helped the EU fishing fleet remain profitable in 2020 despite the challenges of the global Covid-19 pandemic, according to a report by the European Union.
The 2020 Annual Economic Report on the EU Fishing Fleet states that more sustainable fishing and lower fuel costs helped to mitigate the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic.
The European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius said that the report showed that ‘sustainability pays off’. “During times of crisis, our fishing fleets must stay on the path of sustainability. It builds resilience and accelerates economic recovery,” he said.
The report shows that the industry made a net profit of €800 million in 2018 with the trend continuing into 2019. Fleets operating in areas where stocks are maintained at sustainable levels fared better than those that still face overfishing.
However, the Covid-19 outbreak has interrupted the positive trends seen in recent years and projections show decreases of 17% in landed value, 19% in employment and 29% in net profits compared to 2019.
Despite this, indications suggest that the fleet will still end 2020 with a reasonable level of profitability. The report also shows that the economic performance and salaries of EU fishermen and women are improving where stocks are managed sustainably.