Farming finfish, shellfish and aquatic plants is one of the world’s fastest growing food sectors; it already provides the planet with about half of all the fish we eat.
Seafood consumption in the EU is expected to increase, especially in Central-Eastern Europe, where, on average, one EU citizen consumes 25 kilos of fish and seafood per year . However, 60% of fish and seafood consumed in Europe is imported, 25% of which is coming from aquaculture.
As the seafood market demand is on the rise and sustainable fishing cannot keep up with this demand, aquaculture is the single most promising food production sector with such a tremendous potential to grow. On a global scale, with the aquaculture sector growing at a rate of 6% annually, aquaculture is expected to surpass fisheries in the near future, thus reflecting the trend that farmed fish is becoming the rule.
There are already approximately 14,000 companies engaged in aquaculture in the EU, most of them SMEs, that employ in total about 85,000 people (about 6 employees per company on average). In 2016, the EU aquaculture sector produced and sold 1.4 million tons of seafood, worth almost €5 billion, doubling the profits in the sector between 2014 and 2016.