In 1984/85 the German deep-sea fishing industry started declining fast. The number of shipping companies in West Germany was reduced to just four and in 1991 the last West German wet fish trawler was sold abroad. In East Germany, the fishing combine in Rostock was restructured and at the same time the East German deep-sea fishing industry collapsed as a result of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the ensuing political change. The oversized fishing fleet in Rostock, which had been working at a loss for years, went into liquidation.
After 1990 the deep-sea fishing industry entered a new phase of globalisation. The German fishing fleets gradually became smaller and at the same time Icelandic and Dutch companies started a takeover campaign, buying shares in German shipping companies. Since 2012 the German fishing quotas have been caught by nine trawlers in which the majority shareholders are foreign. Some of them are chartered. Germany can therefore no longer claim to have its own national deep-sea fishing industry. Although the nine trawlers sail under the German flag, only about 100 German trawlermen work on them at the most. As a result of the expansion of the European Union in particular most of the sailors on these vessels come from countries with no maritime connections.back