Fish Dependence Day: Danish Fish Production Can Only Meet Two Thirds of National Demand

Fish Dependence Day Arrives in Denmark 30 Days Earlier than in 2017

Copenhagen, August 15th 2018:- Denmark today reached its annual “Fish Dependence Day” a shocking 30 days earlier than in 2017, and six months earlier than in 1990, according to a report published by the New Economics Foundation.

Fish Dependence Day is the date on which a country begins relying on fish from outside its own waters to meet demand, due to depletion of domestic supplies through a combination of overfishing, mismanagement, and domestic demand.

“Three decades ago, Denmark was producing more fish than it consumed in a year – in 2018, the equivalent of one third of fish consumed in Denmark has to be imported or caught outside Danish and EU waters to meet national demand” said Rebecca Hubbard, Program Director of Our Fish.

“Denmark’s reliance on fish from elsewhere is due not simply to demand, but mismanagement of stocks and overfishing. To end the decline of Denmark and EU fish stocks we’re calling on Minister Eva Kjer Hansen to take bold action to end overfishing – by following scientific advice when setting EU fishing limits, and immediately boosting monitoring and enforcement of the ban on discarding fish at sea.

“By ending overfishing, Denmark could more than double its production, return to its former leading role in sustainable fisheries management, and provide enormous benefits for our oceans, fishermen, and coastal communities,” concluded Hubbard.

“While Denmark has made welcome progress towards the sustainability of the Danish fishing fleet, we should also recognise that to achieve sustainable seafood, not just sustainable fishing, Denmark should also focus on consumption habits and trade patterns”, said environmental economist Griffin Carpenter, Senior Researcher at the New Economics Foundation and author of the report. “There is a real issue that in some cases we may be exporting environmental problems as we improve them in Europe. Informed purchasing by retailers and consumers, trade deals with a focus on the environment, and improvements to fish stocks around Denmark like Baltic cod all have a role to play in creating a more sustainable Danish seafood system.”

Key facts about Denmark, fish dependence and EU overfishing (from Fish Dependence Day 2018: The Reliance of the EU on Fish From Elsewhere by the New Economics Foundation)

  • Denmark’s fish dependence day this year – on 15th August – comes 30 days earlier than the previous year; this continues a concerning downward trend in self-sufficiency whereby Denmark is increasingly reliant on fish from elsewhere. In 1990 Denmark produced 1.13 times as much fish as was consumed domestically; in 2005 this production had dropped to 0.85 of consumption; and according to the latest figures is just 0.62.
  • Denmark could produce more than double what it is currently producing, or enough to cover 301 more days of consumption, if overfishing of EU fish stocks was ended – Denmark’s Fish Dependence Day could move from 15 August 2018 to 12 June 2019!
  • Denmark’s fish consumption is just above the global average of 19kg/capita/year and just under the European average of 22.7kg/capita/year: 22.1kg/capita/year
  • Despite recent progress to rebuild fish stocks in European waters, approximately 40% of European Union (EU) stocks remain overfished. This overexploitation means that fish stocks are less productive than if they were allowed to grow in size and harvested at their maximum sustainable yield (MSY). The result is that while the EU produces 11kg of fish per capita annually (2016), this domestic supply falls short of the 23kg of fish consumption per capita in the EU.
  • The costs of overfishing in the northeast Atlantic (fish stocks below their Maximum Sustainable Yield levels) have been estimated at 1,150,069 tonnes of additional fish per year, enough to meet the annual demand of 57 million EU citizens – and would therefore significantly reduce the need to source fish from other countries.





Dave Walsh, Our Fish Communications Advisor, +34 691826764

Rebecca Hubbard, Our Fish Program Director, +34 657669425

Griffin Carpenter, Senior Researcher, New Economics Foundation, +44 7592 117 776


About Our Fish

Our Fish works to ensure European member states implement the Common Fisheries Policy and achieve sustainable fish stocks in European waters.

Our Fish works with organisations and individuals across Europe to deliver a powerful and unwavering message: overfishing must be stopped, and solutions put in place that ensure Europe’s waters are fished sustainably. Our Fish demands that the Common Fisheries Policy be properly enforced, and Europe’s fisheries effectively governed.

Our Fish calls on all EU Member States to set annual fishing limits at sustainable limits based on scientific advice, and to ensure that their fishing fleets prove that they are fishing sustainably, through monitoring and full documentation of their catch.


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