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Facts and figures

Fishery and aquaculture products play a significant role in our diet as a valuable source of protein-rich healthy food. The consumption of seafood products in the world represents almost 20% of total animal proteins consumed, with a yearly average of 21,4kg per person in the EU.

The enlarged European Union (EU-27) is the third largest seafood producer, but it is also the biggest importer (60% of European consumption). The fisheries and aquaculture economic sectors are faced with many constraints such as: depletion of several fish stocks, outbreaks of invasive species, competition from Third countries, conflicts with other coastal activities for space allocation or negative environmental impacts. With focused research and innovation, the EU can address these challenges and maximise the potential of our natural resources.

Facts and figures about fisheries and aquaculture in the EU

The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP)
The European Commission has launched in 2009 a new reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) which will enter into force as from 2013. Since its inception in 1983, the CFP is a heavily science-based policy, and current reflections on its reform emphasise the crucial role of research and scientific advice for improving decision making in EU fisheries management. It also clearly recognises the need to progress towards an Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management (EAFM).
For information on the Common Fisheries Policy

For information on the role of fisheries research within the CFP please see:

Aquaculture – fish farming
In 2009, the European Commission published a Communication to give new impetus to the sustainable development of European aquaculture. The aquaculture sector in Europe bears a high potential for innovation and technology development but it also clearly needs scientific support on policy-related challenges such as health and welfare of cultured species, environmental issues, product quality and safety.

Maritime policy
The European maritime policy considers all sea-related activities in an integrated way with a view to support the growth of maritime activities in an environmentally sustainable manner.The "EU strategy marine and maritime research" (COM 2008 (534 final), which is its research pillar, promotes better integration between marine and maritime research disciplines, better synergies between the Commission and Member States and a new Marine and Maritime Research Governance. More information

Environment - Marine Strategy framework directive
Adopted in June 2008, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive is the environmental pillar of the EU Integrated Maritime Policy. Research on living aquatic resources contributes to support its objective of: "achieving good environmental status of marine waters by 2020".

SEAFOOD safety and animal health related policies
Fisheries and aquaculture research also relates to seafood safety and quality, feeds, fish health and welfare which are dealt with by DG Health and consumers (DG SANCO) as well as the European Food and safety agency (EFSA-

Detailed summaries of European aquaculture and fisheries related policies can be found on the website of the FP6 PROFET policy project: