EU aquaculture sector strong, says report

The EU's aquaculture sector is strong according to a recent report The EU's aquaculture sector is strong according to a recent report

The European Union’s aquaculture industry has fully recovered from the recent downturn and doubled profits according to a 2018 report.

The Economic Report of the EU Aquaculture Sector, which spans the period 2008 to 2016, shows that 1.4 million tonnes of seafood were produced in 2016 resulting in sales worth almost €5bn. Profits have doubled between 2014 and 2016 and the sector now provides stable employment opportunities.

The EU has around 12,500 aquaculture companies, mostly micro-businesses employing fewer than ten employees. Whilst employment figures have remained stable at 73,000, the number of full-time equivalents has risen by over 22 per cent since 2013 with the trend expected to continue.

Large differences across member states and subsectors

The EU aquaculture sector is divided into three subsectors – marine, shellfish and freshwater production. The most valuable species are Atlantic salmon, rainbow trout and European seabass.

Production is dominated by five countries: the UK, France, Greece, Italy and Spain. Together these five account for around three quarters of the total production volume. At subsector level, this specialisation is even more noticeable with the UK producing 91 per cent of salmon, France responsible for 86 per cent of oysters and Italy producing 80 per cent of clams.

The most frequently farmed freshwater fish is trout with carp another significant species, particularly in eastern Europe.

In terms of average wages, there are again strong regional differences. The average wage across the EU was €25k per annum. However, employees in Bulgaria can expect to earn less than €3k per year whilst those in the Netherlands or Denmark can take home around €65k.

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