Fish have been an important and abundant source of food for millennia. As the human population size has exploded and fishing practices have become more efficient, fish catches have increased dramatically. In 2018, the European Union caught over 5 million tonnes of fish, making it the fourth largest producer in the world1. Unfortunately, fish is no longer an abundant resource and many of the fish stocks are overfished. This means that we are catching more than what the fish populations are able to regenerate, leading to a decline in the total number of fish.
The EU’s Common Fisheries Policy is committed to set sustainable catch limitations to protect both the fish stocks and marine environment as well as the fishermen and consumers that depend on them. These catch limits are determined yearly (every two years for deep sea fish) based on stock assessments of the different fish species in the European waters, provided by the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) and the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF)2. The allowed catch of each fish species is then shared between the EU member states, after which they divide their national quota between their fishermen or exchange it among other EU countries. The volumes of fish being caught and traded are then monitored by the European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products (EUMOFA) whose data can be accessed here and through EMODnet Human Activities.
The map of the week features the national fishing quotas in thousands of tonnes per fish species in the EU Countries. Select the fish species you are interested in using the drop-down menu and click on a country to see how the quotas have changed over time.
The data in this map were provided by the European Commission.