European aquaculture is stagnating by contrast with increasing rates of aquaculture production at world level and, in particular, in Asia. To try to dampen this trend, the Commission published two communications with strategies for developing European aquaculture, one in 2002 and another in 2009. The 2002 strategy failed to increase European production, and since then competition from third countries has sharply increased, there have been several market crises, and the global economic crisis has hit the aquaculture market and industry. This led to the publication in 2013 of a third Commission communication, aimed at achieving the sustainable development of EU aquaculture and proposing strategic guidelines.


European aquaculture production remained relatively stable around the figure of 1.2 million tonnes over the period 1995-2012, peaking at 1.4 million tonnes in the year 2000. In 2002 it stood at 1.25 million tonnes, accounting for 20% of total fisheries production. The value of European aquaculture production reached EUR 3.6 billion in 2011: of this, 50% came from fish products and 50% from crustaceans and molluscs. EU aquaculture focuses primarily on four species: mussels (39% of total volume), trout (15%), salmon (14%) and oysters (8%). However, there has been some development in production of other species such as sea bass, sea bream and clams. The main aquaculture producers among the EU Member States are Spain (22%) France (17%), the United Kingdom (16%), Italy (13%) and Greece (8.5%), which together accounted for around 77% of total aquaculture production in 2011. However, in terms of the value of production, the UK is the leading producer (21%), followed by France (19%), Greece (13%) and Spain (12%). Bivalve molluscs (mussels, oysters and clams) are dominant in Spain, France and Italy. The UK produces mainly salmon, while Greece produces mainly sea bass and sea bream.

Source and Photo Credit: EP Think Tank

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