NECA Compliant MED fishing boat

In evaluating the possible scenarios on which to set up the process of defining the Mediterranean ECA (SECA and NECA), fishing was also included among the sectors to be involved.

Fishing has an ancient tradition in the Mediterranean and is widespread in all Mediterranean countries, both EU and non-EU. Hence the social importance of this sector, made up mostly of medium-small sized boats of an essentially artisanal nature.

The Scenario includes an analysis of Mediterranean and Black Sea fishing fleet potentially involved by the rules of the institution of NECA. In the Mediterranean and Black Sea, the fishing vessels are mostly small-scaled. Over a total 80.000 vessels, the fleet with less than 15 m Lft is made of about 70.000 boats.

Within the scenario #5, in collaboration with CNR, Unimar carried out the definition and analysis of the fishing vessels that could be potentially compliant with the rules of a NECA (by age and engine power).

After an updated analysis carried out on the FAO/GFCM Fleet Register, the data on the fishing fleet was available regarding Mediterranean and Black Sea Countries.

The analysis of the commercial fishing fleet is relevant for MEDECA in order to assess its importance in the framework of the whole maritime traffic and its contribution in both SECA and NECA problems. An analytic review of fleet official data is provided, regarding fishing vessels potentially interested by a NECA rules. The vessels are classified according to the construction year and the engine power, separating the overall fleet and the fleet with > 130 kW engine. Among almost 80.000 vessels, about 13.000 ones are equipped with a more than 130 kw engine. An analysis on small-scale fishing vessels is provided. About 70.000 vessels small-scale ones (<15 m LoA) and among those, 5400 are equipped with a more than 130 kw engine.

The nitrogen oxide (NOx) emission control standards set out in Annex VI of the MARPOL Convention (International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships), apply to marine diesel engines installed on ships that have a power exceeding 130 kW . These engines must comply with maximum NOx emission limits, which vary according to the date of construction of the engine, its speed and its category (I, II or III).

Vessels with power exceeding 130 kW are most responsible for air pollution caused by NOx. NOx contribute to the formation of tropospheric ozone, acid rain and photochemical smog, with negative effects on air quality, climate and biodiversity. Therefore, limiting NOx emissions from ships is an important objective for the protection of the marine environment and public health.

The total number of active fishing vessels in the Mediterranean and Black Seas with power exceeding 130 kW is 13354.

The country with the highest number of active fishing vessels with power exceeding 130 kW is Turkey (2755), followed by Italy (2195) and Algeria (2056). The country with the lowest number of active fishing vessels above 130 kW is Romania (13), followed by Slovenia (18) and Ukraine (30).

Regarding the total number of fishing boats, Turkey is the first nation with the 19,3 % of the total followed by Greece (15,5%), Italy (15%) and Croatia (9,8%).

Gross tonnage (GT) is a measure of the size of a vessel, used for administrative and taxation purposes. The GT is determined by a formula that takes into account the vessel’s volume, length and beam.

These data show the distribution of GT (gross register tons) of fishing vessels of the 24 countries operating in the Mediterranean Sea.

The total GT of fishing vessels in the Mediterranean Sea is 827,058.93 tonnes, with an average of 34,460.79 tonnes per country.

The country with the largest GT is Turkey, with 174,669.29 tons, which represents 21% of the total GT. Turkey is followed by Italy, with 142,995.06 tons (17%), and by Tunisia, with 105,560.06 tons (13%). The country with the least GT is Portugal, with 224 tons, which represents 0.03% of the total GT. Portugal is followed by Ukraine, with 1,132.94 tonnes (0.1%), and Lebanon, with 1,272.50 tonnes (0.2%)


The power in Kw of each country’s fishing vessels, which is a measure of the fishing capacity and environmental impact of the fleets.

The total power of fishing vessels in the Mediterranean Sea is 6,296,230 kW, with an average of 262,343 kW per country. However, the distribution of power is not homogeneous across countries, but shows a strong geographical concentration. The first three countries (Turkey, Italy, Algeria) have a total power of 2,950,967 Kw, which represents 52% of the total power.

The last five countries (Slovenia, Romania and Portugal) have a total power of 14,111 Kw, which represents 0.25% of the total power.

Fishing gear is divided into passive and active depending on the way in which it catches fish.

Passive gear are those that are placed in the sea and passively capture fish. Some examples of passive gear are pots, gillnets, longlines and lines.

Active gear is towed from boats to catch fish, using bag- or cone-shaped nets, or dredgers that scrape the bottom. Some examples of active gear are trawl nets, purse seines, hydraulic dredger and mechanical dredger.

About total fuel consumption per vessel are widely higher in the active gear and purse seines: the total consumption due to these gears is 79%. For this reason, a detailed analysis of these data has been done. The total number of vessels with active gears in the Mediterranean and Black Sea is 7.537. The total vessels number is 79.310. From this total it can be estimated that 9,5% of vessels consume about the 80% of the total fuel.

This chart shows the number of different types of active gears present in the Mediterranean and Black Sea. Single boat otter trawls represent by far the majority of nets used among active gear with 5282 units. Trawls (nei) follow at a large distance with 949 units and beam trawls (864 units).
Analyzing the same data per Country, the higher number of vessels with active gears is observed in Türkiye, followed by Greece, Italy and Croatia.

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To facilitate communication and collaboration between the different actors involved in the promotion of sustainable and low environmental impact fishing in the Mediterranean, we aimed to reach a wide audience of stakeholders to create a database that collects the contact information of relevant stakeholders, both at a regional and international level and which offers a current overview of the actors potentially involved. This database will allow stakeholders to get in touch with potential partners and beneficiaries of projects aimed at reducing polluting emissions produced by fishing activities. It is a precious tool for expanding the network of relationships and encouraging the exchange of good practices and innovative solutions. The database can be downloaded by anyone interested and can be expanded and updated.