WhoFishesFar.org makes available a list of EU vessels fishing globally and non-EU vessels fishing in EU waters, i.e. under the EU’s Regulation on the sustainable management of external fishing fleets or SMEFF (formerly the Fishing Authorisation Regulation, FAR). It also makes available the licence lists of non-EU coastal States which have published, or given permission to publish, the list of EU and non-EU vessels authorised to fish within their waters. The data was secured from both the European Commission through a series of access to information requests for all authorisations from 2008 to 2019, and the relevant ministries of coastal States.

The data included on this website is incomplete, and may include errors. Some of the information provided by the European Commission to the WhoFishesFar team does not include data on direct authorisations or chartering agreements. In an effort to fill this data gap, the WhoFishesFar team contacted all EU Member States, but only Spain disclosed this information, which includes authorisations from 2009 to 2016.

Following an additional access to information request, the European Commission has provided data on direct authorisations for 2018 and 2019 to the WhoFishesFar team. European Commission data on direct authorisations for the 2018 period however was incomplete and thus unreliable. As such, the 2018 European Commission data on direct authorisations has not been included on this website. There were no issues noted with the 2019 direct authorisations data, so this information has been uploaded.

The data provided by the European Commission on authorisations that were withdrawn, denied or requested have not been included in the WhoFishesFar.org search engine.

WhoFishesFar.org includes EU fishing vessels that fish in non-EU waters for limited time periods or have requested an authorisation to operate in non-EU waters but do not actually use this authorisation. The total number of vessels included in WhoFishesFar.org is therefore larger than the number of vessels that are considered to belong to the European long distance fleet.

The Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) defines the EU distant-water fleet (DWF) as vessels over 24 metres in length (LOA) flying the flag of an EU Member State and fishing predominantly in non-EU waters. Using this definition, the number of vessels in the EU DWF has decreased from 385 in 2008 to 250 in 2018 [i].


[i] Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) - The 2020 Annual Economic Report on the EU Fishing Fleet (STECF 20-06), EUR 28359 EN, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2020, ISBN 978-92-76-27164-2, doi:10.2760/500525, JRC123089, pages 33, 49.