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Part I Statistics and main indicators

  1. Country brief
  2. General geographic and economic indicators
  3. FAO Fisheries statistics

The Profile (2005)

    Additional information

    1. FAO Thematic data bases
    2. Publications
    3. Meetings & News archive

    Part I Statistics and main indicators

    Part I of the Fishery and Aquaculture Country Profile is compiled using the most up-to-date information available from the FAO Country briefs and Statistics programmes at the time of publication. The Country Brief and the FAO Fisheries Statistics provided in Part I may, however, have been prepared at different times, which would explain any inconsistencies.

    Country briefUpdated 10-2017

    Located in the westernmost part of Europe on the west coast, over the three main biogeographical regions of the Atlantic Ocean including Azores and Madeira Islands, Portugal has a coastline of 1 214 km (accounting for 1.8 % of the EU's 66 000 km coastline).

    The Portuguese fisheries industry has a low contribution to the economy as a whole (0.24 percent of the GDP), but it has a large cultural and social importance, especially in some traditional fishing towns of Portugal. It is estimated that the blue economy represents 3 % of the Portuguese GDP. Portugal reported 17 536 people directly employed in the primary sector of the marine fishery industry in 2015.

    Portugal has the third highest per capita fish consumption in Europe (about 53.8 kg in 2013) after Iceland and Faeroe Islands. The main fish consumed in Portugal are small pelagic fish, especially sardine and horse mackerel, but in coastal regions many other species are consumed. Portugal imports large quantities of cod (salted and dried), to satisfy its traditional dietary requirements. In 2015, imports of fish and fishery products were valued at USD 1.9 billion, with exports valued at USD 1.1 billion.

    There were 8 046 fishing vessels in 2015 and the fleet is characterized by a dominance (90 percent) of vessels smaller than 12 m in length overall (LOA). Portugal has a small distant-water fleet mostly operating in the Northwest Atlantic and off the coasts of African countries.

    Total capture production was 188 500 tonnes in 2015, including also 34 000 tonnes from distant waters. Small pelagic (e.g. sardine, Atlantic and chub mackerels) are the most caught species, constituting about 45 percent of total catch. The large contribution from the small-scale artisanal fisheries is however probably strongly underestimated. The production from inland fisheries is very limited.

    Recreational fishing, mostly on the coast, is a very popular activity and an important sector in itself.

    The processing industry (especially canning of sardine and tuna) used to be an important employer in the coastal regions, but almost all factories went bankrupt when the EU market was opened to imports from non-European countries, during the last two decades of the last century. Only a small number of companies, producing high quality products, still survive.

    Aquaculture production in 2015 was 9 300 tonnes, primarily consisting of marine bivalves and marine fin fish grown mostly from mariculture and land-based aquaculture farms.

    As a member of the European Union (EU), fisheries management in Portugal, under the responsibility of the Directorate-General of Natural Resources, Safety and Maritime Services (DGRM), is governed mainly by the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
    General geographic and economic indicators

    Table 1 - General Geographic and Economic Data - Portuguese Republic

    Shelf area 1 721 751km2 Sea around us:
    Length of continental coastline 1 793 km World by Map:
    Fisheries GDP (2006) 0.24% GDP UNSD/FAO

    Key statistics

    Country area92 220km2FAOSTAT. Official data, 2013
    Land area91 600km2FAOSTAT. Expert sources from FAO (including other divisions), 2013
    Inland water area620km2Computed. Calculated, 2013
    Population - Est. & Proj.10.665millionsFAOSTAT. Official data, 2018
    Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) area1 728 043km2VLIZ
    GDP (current US$)240 675millionsWorld Bank. 2018
    GDP per capita (current US$)23 408US$World Bank. 2018
    Agriculture, forestry, and fishing, value added2.05% of GDPWorld Bank. 2018

    Source: FAO Country Profile

    FAO Fisheries statisticsTable 2 in this section is based on statistics prepared by the FAO Fishery Information, Data and Statistics Unit and disseminated in 2016. The charts are based on the same source but these are automatically updated every year with the most recent statistics.

    Table 2 – Fisheries statistics – Portuguese Republic

    1980 1990 2000 2010 2012 2013 2014
    EMPLOYMENT (thousands) 35.00 38.70 25.02 16.92 16.56 16.80 16.78
    Capture 35.00 38.70 25.02 16.92 16.56 16.80 16.78
    Marine 35.00 38.70 25.02 16.92 16.56 16.80 16.78
    FLEET(thousands boats) 15.83 10.66 8.49 8.28 8.24 8.19 8.15
    Source: FAO Fishery and Aquaculture Statistics
    1) Due to roundings total may not sum up

    Please Note:Fishery statistical data here presented exclude the production for marine mammals, crocodiles, corals, sponges, pearls, mother-of-pearl and aquatic plants.


    Updated 2005The Profile

    This country profile provides statistics and indicators produced through FAO’s Statistics programmes, supplemented with information derived from national and other sources and valid at the time of compilation.

    Full text of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Country Profile available at

    Additional information

    FAO Thematic data bases

    Meetings & News archive


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