Deep sea fishing

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Leaving fishing steamer fleet on the day of the deep-sea fisherman in Bremerhaven (1953)

Under sea fishing refers to fishing in offshore areas of the oceans. The boundaries between deep-sea fishing and inshore fishing are fluid and depend mainly on the size and technical equipment of the fishing vessels . Ships with a length of up to 16 m are used in inshore fishing; deep sea fishing requires much larger vessels. Last but not least, the certificates of competency for the captains are divided into “small deep-sea fishing” and “large deep-sea fishing”.

Small deep sea fishing

In the small deep-sea fishery, deep-sea cutters are used, the length of which is approx. 18 to 32 m with an engine output of 300 to 600 hp. Four to six crew members are required. In 2005, 31 deep-sea cutters with a crew of 191 were in use under the German flag.

Small deep-sea fishing is carried out in Europe in the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and north of the Shetland Islands up to 63 ° north latitude and 7 ° west longitude, and also in the English Channel and in the sea area around Ireland up to 10 ° west longitude. The travel time is usually four to ten days per trip (possibly up to 14 days).

Big deep sea fishing

Deep Sea Fishing (1989)
Factory ship Wiesbaden in Cuxhaven

Large deep-sea fishing is the name given to fishing with large ships in remote fishing areas. The fishing area is outside the limits of small-scale deep-sea fishing and inshore fishing. Before the factory ships , a trip to Iceland or Norway took 20 days. After the five-day journey there was fished for ten days; after the return trip it was “market day”, especially in the fishing port (Bremerhaven) . After a day and a half the next trip began. The crew consisted of about 15 men, 7 or 8 deckmen , 3 or 4 ship technicians , 1st and 2nd helmsman and the master . She received wages and shares in the catch (50,000 to 60,000 German marks ), the captain with 5%. There was no smut or even a ship's doctor . Most of the provisions were brought privately.

Today deep-sea fishing is done with trawlers and factory ships. Most of them are so-called “full freezers”, also regularly referred to as catch factory ships, which process the catches into frozen products while at sea. In 2005, nine universal freezers and three special vehicles were used by German companies for fishing for schooling fish ( Atlantic herring , mackerel and wood mackerel ). The journey takes an average of 60 days.

In 2004, 52,834.2 tons of fish worth around 32 million euros were landed by German fishing vessels as part of the large-scale deep-sea fishery. This contrasted with 62,188.5 tonnes from the landings from small-scale deep-sea fishing and coastal fishing. This means that the large deep-sea fisheries now provide 45.9% of the total sea fish catch.

The Deutsche Hochseefischereiverband eV acts as the central association of German deep-sea fishing companies

As of May 2020, the German deep-sea fishing fleet consisted of 7 ships, 5 of which belonged to various German subsidiaries of the Dutch fishing group Parlevliet & Van der Plas (P&P) and 2 to the Deutsche Fischfang Union GmbH & Co. KG (DFFU), a subsidiary of the Icelandic Samherji - Group included:

Ship name Fishing license Shipping company Owner
mark ROS 777 Mecklenburg deep-sea fishing GmbH P&P
Annie Hillina ROS 170 Ostbank Hochseefischerei GmbH P&P
Helen Mary ROS 785 Oderbank Hochseefischerei GmbH P&P
Gerda Maria ROS 786 Nordbank Hochseefischerei GmbH P&P
Maartje Theadora ROS 171 Westbank Hochseefischerei GmbH P&P
Cuxhaven NC 100 Deutsche Fischfang Union GmbH & Co. KG Samherji
Berlin NC 105 Deutsche Fischfang Union GmbH & Co. KG Samherji

In the 1950s, German deep-sea fishing covered a good 90% of the demand in western Germany ; today it is only 15%.

Day of the deep sea fisherman

Day of the Deep Sea Fisherman (1953)

For the first time in 1953 a day of deep sea fishermen took place in Bremerhaven . In 1955 the city was decorated and the population was on their feet. Both denominations kicked off on Saturday afternoon with a church ceremony in the fishing port. In Hall XV, numerous residents and guests from home and abroad took their seats on auction boxes that had been scrubbed white. There were crews from the foreign fishery protection boats and a group of girls from the folk high school in Loccum in uniform costume . A crucifix and a steering wheel stood on the altar . On both sides of the altar, deep-sea fishermen in bobble hats were lined up. The brass choir of the Association of German Soldiers played the intrada . Then the clergy moved in, most recently the regional bishop of Hanover and Abbot of Loccum Hanns Lilje and the protector of the "Apostolate of the Sea", Bishop Johannes von Rudloff from Osnabrück. A “fisherman's meal” followed on the Seven Seas . At a ceremony in the Bremerhaven City Theater , Federal Labor Minister Anton Storch awarded deep-sea fishermen the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany . Crowds flocked to the water sports competitions and the colorful evenings, the harbor concert, the fleet parade, the children's party, the square concerts and the fireworks on the Weser dike. In the United pans cooked fish cakes are issued under police protection had. The race of the fish steamer attracted particular attention.


In the Federal Republic of Germany, the “Kapitän BK” (small deep sea fishing) and “Kapitän BG” (large deep sea fishing) certificates can be obtained within the framework of a nationwide regulation. Prior to this, depending on the relevant training in sea or fishing, at least 12 to 48 months of sea voyage time in deck duty on sea fishing vessels must have been completed, after which there is further training at technical schools regulated by state law. After successfully completing it, you will receive the first certificate of competency “Nautischer Schiffsoffizier BKW” or “Nautischer Schiffsoffizier BGW”. The subsequently required seafaring time as a ship officer on vessels of the sea fishing is 24 months, then one can acquire the certificate of proficiency as a captain in the deep sea fishing.


Since the adoption of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982 , deep-sea fishing has become an international problem. The Convention gives all states the freedom to fish for largely unlimited periods; Coastal states where z. B. were granted exclusive rights of use in zones 200 nautical miles off the respective coast, but complain that deep-sea fishing is reducing the fishing yields in their waters. Problems also arise when schools of fish that are on either side of the 200-mile limit of the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) For the individual countries, such as the cod on the east coast of Canada , the pollock in the Bering Sea or other species such as tuna and swordfish , the move between the EEZ and the high seas .

The industrialized countries also subsidize their fishing fleets with over 30 billion euros annually. According to Tobias Straumann, this contributes to the preservation of this industry and also damages coastal fishing in developing countries.


The 10 largest deep-sea fishing nations sorted according to the mean value of the annual landings (2000-2010)
nation Value of deep-sea fishing landings
(mean in million US $)
% Share of total landings High seas catch (mean in kilo t) % Share of total catch
Japan 2,542 24 807 19th
South Korea 1,262 40 632 38
Taiwan 932 62 587 66
Spain 742 31 300 33
United States 709 7th 218 4th
Chile 635 24 988 25th
China (PR) 629 5 646 7th
Philippines 385 16 328 15th
France 349 20th 99 17th
Indonesia 309 9 307 9
Total top ten 8,494 4,912
Sum of all countries 12,047 7,896
  1. The average of the landings and values ​​(2000–2010) come from the database of the organization Sea Around Us Summary:
  2. Probably due to flagging out of other countries
  3. in the original: 8.495
  4. in the original: 4.911

See also


  • Frank-Roland Fließ, Reinhold Kramer: The deep-sea fishing fleet of Saßnitz and Rostock. Oceanum Verlag , Wiefelstede 2017, ISBN 978-3-86927-089-0 .
  • Dieter Kokot: "Father of the economic miracle" came on board. Fish steamer KOBLENZ and deep sea fishing in the 1950s . In: Men from Morgenstern , Heimatbund an Elbe and Weser estuary e. V. (Ed.): Niederdeutsches Heimatblatt . No. 808 . Nordsee-Zeitung GmbH, Bremerhaven April 2017, p. 1 ( digital version [PDF; 5.9 MB ; accessed on July 16, 2019]).
  • Moritz Lindeman : The arctic fishing of the German seaside towns 1620-1868 . Petermanns Geographische Mitteilungen , Supplement No. 26.
  • Ingo Heidbrink : Germany's only colony is the sea. German deep-sea fishing and the fishing conflicts of the 20th century. Convent Verlag, Hamburg 2004, ISBN 978-3934613805 .
  • U. Rashid Sumaila, eA, Winners and losers in a world where the high seas is closed to fishing , Scientific Reports 5, Article number: 8481 (2015), doi: 10.1038 / srep08481 , (eng.)

Individual evidence

  1. Schiffsflotte ,, accessed on May 8, 2020
  2. Captain i. R. Ludolf Köhler, fishing port operating company Bremerhaven (2012)
  4. For the Seven Seas see USS Long Island (CVE-1)
  5. Every Sunday “Völkerwanderung” to the Weser dike. “Day of the deep-sea fisherman” an impressive success in the most beautiful weather - fleet parade and fireworks coveted spectacles . Nordsee-Zeitung from July 18, 1955
  6. Tobias Straumann : When European funds ruin African fishermen , Tages-Anzeiger, January 10, 2018 with scientific references on development cooperation