Economic Report of the EU Aquaculture Sector (STECF-18-19)

The 2018 Economic Report of the EU Aquaculture Sector provides a thorough overview of the latest data on the production, economic value, structure, and competitive performance of the sector at both national and EU level. The report covers the development from 2008 to 2016.

According to the report, the overall performance of the EU aquaculture sector is improving. It reached 1.4 million tonnes in sales volume and €4.9 billion in sales value in 2016. That is an increase of 6% in sales volume and 8% in sales value compared to 2014, mostly due to increasing prices. In 2016, the economic performance of the sector improved on almost all economic indicators compared to 2014 and 2015. In fact, profits doubled during this period.

The aquaculture production is mainly concentrated in 5 countries: France, Italy, Greece, Spain, and the United Kingdom. They cover 74% of the sales volume and 73% of the sales value in the EU.

Good results for marine fishes, freshwater fishes and shellfish

All three sectors have experienced strong economic growth. The marine sector is the largest with a revenue of €2 731 million. The shellfish sector had a value of €1 134 million, while the freshwater sector generated €1 028 million. The main species produced in terms of value are Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout and European seabass.

Increased full-time employment but large regional wage differentiation

There are about 12 5000 enterprises in the EU aquaculture sector, with nearly 90% being micro-enterprises with less than 10 employees. For several years the number of employees has remained stable at around 75 000, but the full-time equivalent employment rate has increased significantly since 2013. This could be the result of higher specialization in the sector. The report also found huge regional differences in yearly wages, varying from €3000 in Bulgaria to €65 000 in Denmark.

The EU wants more seafood from Europe

The member states are implementing mandatory Multiannual National Strategic Plans, with the aim of reducing the EUs dependence on seafood imports. According to the report, many seem to be on track concerning their production goals, but few have already overcome or are close to reaching those goals. The implementation of the strategies is an important step towards a modern and sustainable European aquaculture.

The report is published by the Scientific and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF). The data is collected from the Data Collection Framework (DCF), EU-MAP, EUROSTAT, and FAO.

Read the full report here.

By Martine Farstad