Greece has the largest fishing fleet in the European Union, with 18,275 fishing vessels (in 2005), 20.4% of the total EU fleet, according to information provided by the European Statistical Service (Eurostat).
However, the Greek fishing fleet is mainly composed of small craft, as Greece is sixth in the rankings by total fleet capacity. Spain is first in this respect, followed by France, Italy and the Netherlands. Ranked by horsepower, Italian fishing vessels are the most powerful, followed by Spain and France, with Greece in fifth place.
Eurostat records also show that in the 2000-2005 period, the number of Greek fishing vessels fell by 8.5%, while capacity fell by 10% and horsepower fell by 5%.
At European Community level (of 15 EU member states), the total fishing fleet was reduced by 12.4% over the same period, while capacity fell by 9.2% and horsepower by 11.1%.
Information on the age of fishing boats is also interesting, as most Greek vessels are over 25 years old, while a sizeable percentage is between 20 and 25 years old. Only about 3,000 boats are newer, from 1 to 10 years old.