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Sustainable Fisheries

Energy Efficiency for Fisheries

Improving energy efficiency is decisive for competitiveness, security of supply and for meeting the commitments on climate change made under the Kyoto Protocol. At the end of 2006, the EU pledged to cut its annual consumption of primary energy by 20% by 2020. On 22 June 2011, a new set of measures for increased Energy Efficiency was proposed by the European Commission to fill the gap and put back the EU on track.

Fishing is one of the most energy-intensive food production methods in the world, depending almost entirely on fossil fuels. In 2000, the world’s fishing fleets were responsible for about 1.2% of total global fuel consumption, corresponding to 0.67 liters of fuel per Kg of live fish and shellfish landed. In 2008, the EU fleet consumed 3.7 billion liters of fuel, representing 25% of the value of landings.

In the past decade, fuel prices have increased by an average of 80% while fisheries production declined by 17% between 1995 and 2002 in the EU-25. Mostly because fishing capacity is greater than the available fish stocks, many fishing fleets in the EU have been facing economic problems. With added concerns about oil prices since 2005, energy efficiency is key to profitability and has become both a political and a scientific issue.

At a conference on energy efficiency in fisheries sponsored by the Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) in 2006, it was acknowledged that EU fishing fleets expend vast quantities of energy and that low overall efficiency is caused not by high oil costs but rather by structural deficiencies.

Two main types of technical solutions to increase efficiency and cut energy costs were considered, involving fishing gears and techniques on the one hand and onboard propulsion and energy generation on the other. As a follow-up, the Commission pledged to set up a system to exchange ideas and best practices.

This website is part of that initiative. Its primary target is fishery professionals and their associations. Relevant material for inclusion on the site should be sent to the functional mailbox further below.

The website gives access to: