EU Science Hub

Brief on biomass production of fisheries and aquaculture


This brief on fisheries and aquaculture biomass production is one out of a series of briefs from the EC's Knowledge Centre for Bioeconomy which intend to provide independent evidence for EU policy in this field. The following are the key results:

1. EU-27 fisheries and aquaculture produced 6.0 Mt live weight equivalent in 2017, with 4.9 Mt originating from capture fisheries and 1.1 Mt from aquaculture. It accounted for 3.5% of global production (see section 1).

2. Global capture fisheries production has been relatively stable since the late 1980s, at around 90 Mt per year. The EU-27 capture production decreased by 43% between 1990 and 2012 and shows a slight upward trend in recent years (see section 1).

3. Global aquaculture produced 80.1 Mt in 2017 and is the fastest-growing animal-food-producing sector in the world. EU-27 aquaculture production remains rather stable (see section 1).

4. In EU fishing areas, many of the assessed fish stocks were overfished (38% in the Northeast Atlantic in 2018 and 93% in the Mediterranean and Black Seas in 2017). While the situation has been improving in the Northeast Atlantic over the past 15 years, no apparent change concerning fishing pressure or stock biomass has been observed in the Mediterranean and Black Seas (see section 2). Furthermore, the status of many fish stocks remains unknown due to poor data availability (see knowledge gaps).