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.
In Europe, aquaculture accounts for about 20% of fish production and directly employs some 85 000 people. The sector is mainly composed of SMEs or micro-enterprises in coastal and rural areas. EU aquaculture is renowned for its high quality, sustainability and consumer protection standards.
EU overall output has been more or less constant in volume since 2000 whereas global production, at the same time, has been growing by nearly 7% per year.
The Commission intends to boost the aquaculture sector through the Common Fisheries Policy reform, and in 2013 published Strategic Guidelines [413 KB] presenting common priorities and general objectives at EU level. Four priority areas were identified in consultation with all relevant stakeholders:
- reducing administrative burdens
- improving access to space and water
- increasing competitiveness
- exploiting competitive advantages due to high quality, health and environmental standards.
On the basis of the guidelines, the Commission and EU countries are collaborating to help increase the sector's production and competitiveness. EU countries have been asked to set up multiannual plans to promote aquaculture. The Commission is helping with the identification of bottlenecks but also facilitates cooperation, coordination and exchange of best practices between EU countries.
The latest infographic on Aquaculture in the EU [688 KB] analysing the main priorities of aquaculture development across Member States as well as planned actions by Member States.
- High Level event 24 May 2016 - Brussels
- High Level event November 2012 – La Coruña
- High Level event Salzburg 2012
Strategic Guidelines for the sustainable development of EU aquaculture - COM/2013/229 [413 KB] - Communication to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions (29/04/2013)
Regulation (EU) No 304/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 9 March 2011 amending Council Regulation (EC) No 708/2007 concerning use of alien and locally absent species in aquaculture
Council Regulation (EC) No 708/2007 concerning use of alien and locally absent species in aquaculture
Commission Regulation (EC) No 710/2009 of 5 August 2009 amending Regulation (EC) No 889/2008 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007, as regards laying down detailed rules on organic aquaculture animal and seaweed production
Regulation (EC) No 889/2008 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products with regard to organic production, labelling and control
Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 of 28 June 2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council, Building a sustainable future for aquaculture, A new impetus for the Strategy for the Sustainable Development of European Aquaculture - COM/2009/0162 final
- The Economic Performance Report on the EU Aquaculture sector (STECF-14-18). 2014
- Summary of the 2013 Economic Performance Report on the EU Aquaculture sector (STECF-13-30). 2013
- Facts and figures on the CFP [16 MB]
- 2012 fact sheet on aquaculture techniques [725 KB]