Number of fishing boats along Belgian coast halved in twenty years

The number of fishing boats along the Belgian coast has decreased by almost half since 2000, according to figures requested by Flemish MP Frieda Verougstraete-Deschacht (Vlaams Belang) from Flemish Deputy Minister-President Hilde Crevits (CD&V).

There were 127 fishing boats along the Belgian coast in 2000, 100 boats in 2008, and currently there are 64. "Not only is our own fishing fleet shrinking, there are also fewer and fewer recognised sea fishermen," says Frieda Verougstraete-Deschacht. The number of recognised sea fishermen stood at 439 in 2012. 75 percent of them had Belgian nationality. By 2020, that number had dropped to 370 recognised sea fishermen, 63 percent of whom had Belgian nationality. 

The share of Dutch fishermen is systematically increasing. Some 23 percent of the recognised sea fishermen had Dutch nationality in 2012. This percentage increased to 30 in 2017 and to 32 in 2020.



A fishing boat arriving at the open outcry fish auction in Zeebrugge, Belgium © BELGA PHOTO KURT DESPLENTER

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