European fish farming the current position
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European fish farming: The current position. Courtney Hough General Secretary FEAP. Role of FEAP within European Aquaculture. 31 National Aquaculture Associations from 22 European States – a unique forum for European fish farming

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European fish farming:The current position

Courtney Hough

General Secretary


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Role of FEAP within European Aquaculture

  • 31 National Aquaculture Associations from 22 European States – a unique forum for European fish farming

  • Member of the EU Advisory Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture (ACFA)

  • Liaison status with the FAO – EIFAC, GFCM and Global sub-Committee on Aquaculture of the COFI

  • Participant in important EU RTD projects and actions

  • First International Association to develop a Code of Conduct for aquaculture

  • Active in public communication – ‘Aquamedia’

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Global Fish Farming Development

Rest of the World98% (1999)APR = 10.4%

EU-152%APR = 7.9%

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EU Fish Farming DevelopmentProduction and Value

57,000 tons in 1970

125,000 tons in 1980

300,000 tons in 1990

520,000 tons in 2000

~10% of EU fisheries landings

~23% of value of EU fisheries

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Major Producer States in EU


United Kingdom – 30% - 161,000 tons

Greece – 12% - 67,000 tons

Italy – 12% - 65,000 tons

France – 11% - 60,000 tons

Spain – 9% - 48,000 tons

Denmark – 7% - 40,000 tons

Germany – 7% - 36,000 tons

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EU Fish Farming – Major Species

  • Principal species in EU isTrout

  • Largest growth in mariculture

    • Salmon, Seabream, Seabass,Turbot

  • Recent diversification has been of low production and economic importance

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EU Fish Farming Development trends



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Conclusions for EU aquaculture

  • EU fish farming is an important contributor to the fisheries sector, supplying processors and the consumer with a variety of high quality, safe food products at a reasonable price

  • EU fish farming has become an important pan-European economic sector, providing jobs in rural and coastal areas and supporting important upstream and downstream activities and services

  • Overall production growth 6.3% APR, 5.5% less than the global trend over the same period

  • Overall price trend is negative (-0.5% APR) vs positive global development

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Conclusions for EU aquaculture markets

  • Marine sectors developing quickest but hardest hit on prices

  • Freshwater sector prices more stable but very slow growth or stagnation

  • Ex-EU ‘High quality’ and processed products exports targeting the ‘developed’ markets of EU

  • Market competition is very high – supermarkets increasingly control the major market share and concentrate demand

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Conclusions for EU aquaculture markets

  • Development (growth) problems

    • Rapid growth Increased supply from a fragmented SME sector prolonged price instability (e.g. Mediterranean sector)

    • Discrediting food production has affected aquaculture and prices

  • The offer must be concentrated, focusing on Producer Organisations

  • Increased consumer awareness and education on nutrition, quality and health issues are required

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Observations on EU aquaculture

  • European fishfarming technology & management are world leaders

  • European Universities lead global aquaculture research and training requirements

  • European companies lead supply and consultancy sectors


  • Little recognition of the contribution of fish farming in previous Common Fisheries Policies

  • No specific budget for focused improvement in the 6th Framework Programme

  • Will the Reformed CFP provide adequate opportunities?

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EU Legislative « Framework »

  • Major issues affecting aquaculture and its development

    • Food safety

      • Feed components (post BSE, dioxin/PCB…)

      • Processing conditions (hygiene, materials…)

      • Contaminants (Diseases, Hg,Cd…, residues…)

    • Fish Health

      • Treatment (chemicals, therapeutic agents)

      • Movement of live fish (zoning, categories)

      • Welfare (live transport, slaughter…)

    • Land & Water use

      • Water Framework Directive

      • Integrated (Coastal) Zone Management

      • ‘Habitat’ & ‘Birds’ Directives, Natura 2000

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Key issues raised by the profession

  • Sustainable and responsible development of aquaculture must be encouraged

    • Market stability of prime concern for ALL sectors

    • Operate within a clear, enabling legislative structure (National) or Policy (European – CFP)

    • Development based on science as opposed to reaction to hearsay and scare-mongering

    • Moves towards self-governance and sectoral responsibility should be encouraged

    • A level playing field within the EU is required for equitable development

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Key Issues for now and the future

  • Economic Viability

    • Stability needed for (re)investment

    • Sectoral access to marketing and promotion actions

    • Equitable competition within EU and with imports

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Key Issues for now and the future

  • Food Safety

    • A guarantee for the consumer

    • Input quality – by suppliers

    • Traceability (vs. ‘labelling’)

  • Sustainability

    • Input/Resource issues (water, feeds…)

    • Other environmental issues

    • Human Resources (training, technology…)

    • Governance – Responsibility

    • Sectoral acceptability

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  • Market will determine success but market stability is the urgent requirement

  • European Fish Farming (suppliers, producers, processors) assumes its responsibilities as

    • a major food supplier

    • a developing sector in a competitive market

    • a guardian of the environment

    • an important employer

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  • Sustainability will only be obtained by the satisfaction of multiple criteria vs. Short term actions

  • Coherent European actions are needed for

    • Improved marketing structures and promotional efforts

    • Simplified legislation

    • Simplified licensing procedures

    • Support for generational change/entry

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More information on European fish farming….

[email protected]