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Fisheries and aquaculture products are an important source of protein and a crucial component of a healthy diet. This is particularly true for the average person living in the EU, who consumes 24.4 kg of fish or seafood per year (4 kg more than in the rest of the world).
Consumption, however, varies greatly across the EU: from 4.8 kg per person per year in Hungary to 56.9 kg in Portugal.
Three quarters of the fish or seafood consumed in the EU come from wild fisheries, while the remaining quarter comes from aquaculture. The most popular species are tuna, cod and salmon.
Consumption of fisheries and aquaculture products (2017)(quantity in live weight (kg/inhabitant/year))
Source: Eumofa, The EU Fish Market, 2019 edition.
Consumption of fisheries and aquaculture products in the major world economies (2017)(quantity in live weight (kg/inhabitant/year))
Source: FAO, Eurostat and Eumofa.
Main species consumed in the European Union (2017)(quantity in live weight (kg/inhabitant/year))
In the EU the total expenditure for fishery and aquaculture products in 2018 reached EUR 55.2 billion. Italy registered the highest level of expenditure with EUR 11.6 billion, followed by Spain (EUR 9.8 billion) and France (EUR 8.5 billion).
On average, expenditure for fishery and aquaculture products represents 6% of the total expenditure for food products in the EU. The highest ratio is observed in Portugal (17%) and the lowest in Hungary (less than 1%). At the EU level, expenditure for meat products and for fruits and vegetables both represent 23% of total food expenditure.
Animal proteins make up 58% of individual protein intake (60.38 g per day), while vegetal proteins cover the remaining 42% (43.47 g per day).
Household expenditure for purchasing fish and seafood (2018)(million EUR)
The supply of fisheries and seafood products to the EU market is ensured by the EU’s own production and by imports, leading to a total of 14.61 million tonnes available for human consumption in 2017. In the same year, the "apparent consumption", obtained by subtracting exports from this figure, was 12.45 million tonnes.
Supply balance (2017)(volume in million tonnes live weight equivalent)
Self-sufficiency can be expressed as the ratio between own production (catches plus aquaculture) and total apparent consumption. In 2015, the EU's self-sufficiency rate stood at 43%, i.e. people living in the EU consumed roughly twice as much as they produced.
The EU’s production covers more than two thirds of its consumption of pelagic fish and more than half of its consumption of molluscs. It is more dependent on external sourcing for salmonids, crustaceans and other fish.
The European Union’s self-sufficiency rate (2017)(percentage by commodity group)
Source: Eurostat and Eumofa.
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On 8 January 2021, the EU and Greenland concluded negotiations for a new Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement (SFPA) and a new Protocol that will strengthen their cooperation in the fisheries sector for the next four years with the possibility of a two-year extension.
The 2020 Annual Economic Report on the EU Fishing Fleet projects that in 2020, the EU fleet remained profitable overall, despite the effects of COVID-19 on the fleet and fish markets. More sustainable fishing and lower fuel costs have helped to mitigate the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic.
The United Kingdom and the European Union have agreed to a Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), applicable on a provisional basis from 1 January 2021.