Dutch fisheries will shrink considerably in the coming years
The Dutch commercial fishing fleet will shrink by 10 to 15 percent over the next five years. Many fishermen are getting into money trouble, partly because of declining turnover and high fuel costs. The financial support announced by the government will be too late for some of the fishermen, ABN Amro predicted based on its own research.
About a third of fishermen think they could run into financial problems in the coming years. Brexit and the expansion of wind farms has also caused concerns for fishermen. The new distribution of fishing rights means that many fishermen are no longer allowed to catch as many fish as before Brexit.
ABN Amro also expects purchasing power to have a negative impact on the demand for fish at the end of this year. People may then have less money to spend in restaurants, for example. Over the long term, demand in the Netherlands and other EU countries is expected to pick back up again. However, it will not stop contraction of fishing fleets, the bank thinks.
The ships that continue to meet the demand for fish will have to innovate and become more sustainable, the bank said. That is also what the national government believes. According to the bank, fishermen should be given the opportunity to experiment, such as by fishing near wind farms.
In July, the Cabinet received permission from the European Union to buy out fishing businesses that are in trouble. The Cabinet has made a total of 155 million euros is available for this. Fishermen who have been affected to a certain extent by Brexit can claim this as part of a restructuring scheme.
A total of 250 companies are active in the Dutch fishing sector. The lion's share of these concerns independent entrepreneurs who work with one ship. The sector accounts for 80 million kilograms of fish annually with a value of 250 million euros. A large part of that is exported to other EU countries.
Reporting by ANP