EPRSauthor By / April 16, 2014

Aquaculture in the EU

In Europe, aquaculture accounts for about 20% of fish production and directly employs some 70 000 people. EU overall output…

© il-fede / Fotolia

In Europe, aquaculture accounts for about 20% of fish production and directly employs some 70 000 people. EU overall output has been more or less constant in volume since 2000 whereas global production has been growing at nearly 7% per year. Concerning the products, EU aquaculture production is renowned for its high quality, sustainability and consumer protection standards. The excellent quality of EU seafood should constitute a major competitive advantage for EU aquaculture; however, European aquaculture is stagnating by contrast with increasing rates of aquaculture production at world level and, in particular, in Asia.

Aquaculture in the EU
© il-fede / Fotolia

The European Commission tried to boost the sector through the Common Fisheries Policy Reform and last year published Strategic Guidelines presenting common priorities and general objectives at EU level. Four priority areas have been identified in consultation with all relevant stakeholders: reducing administrative burdens, improving access to space and water, increasing competitiveness, exploiting competitive advantages due to high quality, health and environmental standards.

This keysource gathers information about aquaculture in Europe. You will find an overview of the sector in the first part, followed by a selection of analysis, some EU country files, the stakeholders’ views about the future of the sector and statistics and other useful information in the last part.


EC fisheries webpage dedicated to aquaculture / European Commission
On this page, you will find an overview of the sector at the European level, including the recent EU legislation concerned.

EP fact sheet / European Parliament
This factsheet gives a good overview of the aquaculture sector and the role of the EP on that particular issue.

Strategic guidelines for aquaculture in the EU / EPRS briefing, Sarah Sheil, 2013, 6 p.
The aquaculture sector in the EU faces a number of challenges which hamper its development or expansion. These include the difficulty of competing with third countries with lower costs and less stringent regulatory standards, the fragmented nature of the sector, competition between economic actors for space, difficult administrative procedures in relation to licensing/start-up and obstacles in accessing finance and investment. Measures to give more prominent support to aquaculture as a separate pillar in the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), and the publication in April 2013 by the European Commission of strategic guidelines on the development of sustainable aquaculture in the EU, aim to address these issues and provide a fresh impetus for development of the sector.

The Economic Performance of the EU Aquaculture Sector (STECF – 13-29) / STECF, JRC Scientific and Policy Reports, 2013, 383 p.
This report, on the Economic Performance of the European Union (EU) Aquaculture sector, is the third report of this type produced for the sector. It provides a comprehensive overview of the latest information available on the structure, social, economic and competitive performance of the aquaculture sector at both national and EU level. The data used in this publication was collected under the Data Collection Framework (DCF). In 2011, the aquaculture sector production in the EU-28 accounted for 1.28 million tonnes, with an estimated value of 3.51 billion Euros. In the EU there are about 14 to 15 thousand companies whose main activity is the aquaculture production, producing a Gross Value Added of more than 1.5 billion Euros.

Summary of the 2013 Economic Performance Report on the EU Aquaculture Sector (STECF 13-30) / STECF, JRC Scientific and Policy Reports, 2013, 54 p.
This summary report serves to highlight some of the key findings of the 2013 Aquaculture report.

European Aquaculture Production Report 2003-2012 / Federation of European Aquaculture Producers (FEAP), 2013, 52 p.
The information and figures used for the preparation of this report have been provided, for the most part, by the Member Associations of the FEAP while additional data has been sourced from National statistical offices and/or other national sources.


European Aquaculture competitiveness: limitations and possible strategies / Directorate-General for Internal Policies, Policy Department B Structural and Cohesion Policies, Fisheries, 2009, 136 p.
This study examines the competitiveness of the EU aquaculture sector, as a contribution to the wider review of EU aquaculture policy being carried out by the European Community institutions. EU aquaculture competes with its international equivalents, with outputs from capture fisheries, and more fundamentally within global food markets.

Regulatory and legal constraints for European Aquaculture / Directorate-General for Internal Policies, Policy Department B Structural and Cohesion Policies, Fisheries, 2009, 97 p.
This study reviews key regulatory and legal constraints in aquaculture policies in the EU and in Member States, focussing on the EU’s main producers – France, Greece, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom. Identified constraints and burdens are assessed against both the needs of the EU aquaculture industry and contemporary principles of better regulation and recommendations to lessen, rationalize or remove the constraints and proposed.

Members States

National Aquaculture Sector Overview (NASO) Fact Sheets / FAO.
Each fact sheet gives in I) the characteristics, structure and resources of the sector, in II) the sector performance, in III) the promotion and management of the sector, in IV) trends, issues and development and in V) references.
You will find below a list of EU countries with recent information (factsheets dated from 2010 until 2012).

Stakeholder views

Science in support of the European fisheries and aquaculture policy /Strategic Working Group on Fisheries and Aquaculture (SCAR-Fish), 2013, 35 p.
SCAR-Fish is a policy driven strategic group advising Member States and the Commission on how to make research policies and research themes instrumental in the delivery of the new European fisheries policy. This first report delivers an early input for the new European framework programme Horizon 2020.

The Future of European Aquaculture / European Aquaculture Technology and Innovation Platform (EATiP), 2012, 41 p.
EATiP is the European Technology and Innovation Platform for Aquaculture that began in 2007 when stakeholders in the European aquaculture industry met to identify gaps and needs in knowledge, technology, skills and policy within their sector. This document expresses the Vision of EATiP and explores how the challenges facing its achievement can be addressed by using technology and innovation.

Key topics for scientific support to the European aquaculture strategy / European Fisheries and Aquaculture Research Organisations (EFARO), 2013, 12 p.
EFARO – association of research institutes active in the field of scientific support to fisheries and aquaculture policies- proposes priorities in research that will strengthen the European aquaculture sector. A strategic working group was convened that developed a list of topics relevant to support the European Aquaculture Strategy.


 Agriculture, forestry and fishery statistics 2013 edition / Eurostat pocketbooks, 2013, 249 p.

The chapter 8 is dedicated to fisheries, on p. 215-228. The aquaculture part is on pages 225-226.

Fishery statistics Data 1995-2008 / Eurostat pocketbooks, 2010, 56 p.
Aquaculture production is available on p. 26-27.

The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture – 2012 / FAO, 2012, 209 p.
This edition presents a global analysis of the sector’s status and trends. The report highlights the vital role of fisheries and aquaculture in both food and nutrition security as well as economic expansion. It also examines issues such as gender, emergency preparedness and the ecosystem approach to fisheries and aquaculture. Selected highlights, from ecolabelling and certification to the effects of fisheries management policies on fishing safety, provide insights on specific topics. Finally, the document looks at the opportunities and difficulties for capture fisheries in the coming decades. The link allows to access other language version as well as the fulltext or individual chapters.

FAO yearbook. Fishery and Aquaculture Statistics. 2011/ FAO annuaire. Statistiques des pêches et de l’aquaculture. 2011 /FAO anuario. Estadísticas de pesca y acuicultura. 2011 / FAO, 2013, 76 p.
The FAO Fishery and Aquaculture Statistics Yearbook contains all the most updated data on: • capture production, fleet and employment • aquaculture production • commodities • food balance sheets. This booklet provides general notes and summaries for each.

Useful sources

Aquaculture in motion 2013 / FEAP, November 2013
FEAP organised the 2nd edition of ‘Aquaculture in Motion’, Wednesday 6th of November in Brussels. This year the event focussed on the ‘Strategic Guidelines for the Sustainable Development of European Aquaculture’ that were published by the European Commission in April 2013. You will find on that page the different presentations given with european national examples.

The future of European Aquaculture / EATiP, Octobre 2012
Experts from the aquaculture profession, research and development, universities, NGOs, the European Investment Bank, the European Commission and other stakeholder interests debated key questions on forecasts and needs of the sector in 2030.

Advancing the Aquaculture Agenda Workshop Proceedings, OECD, 2010, 428 p.
Aquaculture now provides more than 50% of the global supply of fisheries products for direct human consumption. This conference proceedings addresses key policy challenges of the aquaculture sector. Policy makers, academics, industry representatives, NGOs and international organisations gathered to discuss the critical economic, environmental and social aspects of aquaculture. This publication presents a selection of key issues covered by the workshop and includes a large number of country case studies, which provide specific examples of national approaches to aquaculture management.

Workshop on Advancing the Aquaculture Agenda, 15-16 April 2010, OECD.
On this page, you will find the agenda and presentations given at this workshop:Session 1 – Overview of the latest developments in aquaculture, Session 2 – Best practices in aquaculture management and development, Session 3 – Enhancing economic conditions for aquaculture, Session 4 – Lessons for policy makers: What future for aquaculture?.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: