This review of the techno-economic performance of the main global fishing fleets discusses the outcomes from 20 country-level studies of fishing fleets from Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America. It includes financial, socio-economic and technical information from 103 major (semi-) industrial fishing fleet segments, which are responsible for an estimated 39 percent of marine capture fisheries production worldwide. The analysis of vessel characteristics reveals substantial differences in fishing capacity (in terms of vessel length, tonnage and power) between fleet segments. An increase in the gross tonnage of average vessels was observed in fleet segments also covered in previous reviews. Substantial increases in average length overall and engine power were observed in several Asian fishing fleets. The age structure of the fishing fleets in most regions, except Asia, shows an upward trend.
An analysis of the costs and earnings data showed that labour and running costs were the two main cost components for the majority of fleet segments. Ninety-two percent of 97 fleet segments reported a positive net cash flow in the year they were surveyed, in the 2016–2019 period. Net profit margins of 10 percent or more were realized by average fishing vessels in 73 percent of the fleet segments. Returns on investment (ROIs) of 10 percent or higher were realized by 61 percent of the fleet segments. The review also discusses developments in fishing technologies. These developments, along with a general increase in seafood prices, successful fisheries management in some areas, and improved fleet capacity management in Europe and North America, have all contributed to the ongoing, positive financial and economic performance of the main global fishing fleets in recent years.