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You are here: Home / Data and maps / Indicators / Aquaculture production / Aquaculture production (CSI 033) - Assessment published Nov 2005

Aquaculture production (CSI 033) - Assessment published Nov 2005

Generic metadata

Topics:

Fisheries Fisheries (Primary topic)

Coasts and seas Coasts and seas

Tags:
marine | csi | fisheries
DPSIR: Pressure
Typology: Descriptive indicator (Type A - What is happening to the environment and to humans?)
Indicator codes
  • CSI 033
 
Contents
 

Key policy question: Is the current level of aquaculture sustainable?

Key messages

European aquaculture production has continued to increase rapidly during the past 10 years due to expansion in the marine sector in the EU and EFTA countries. This represents a rise in pressure on adjacent water bodies and associated ecosystems, resulting mainly from nutrient release from aquaculture facilities. The precise level of local impact will vary according to production scale and techniques as well as the hydrodynamics and chemical characteristics of the region.

Annual aquaculture production by major area (EU-15 + EFTA and EU-10 + AC + Balkans), 1990-2001

Note: Aquaculture production includes all environments i.e

Data source:

FAO FISHSTAT Plus

Downloads and more info

Annual aquaculture production by country in (EU-15 + EFTA), 2001

Note: Production includes all environments i.e

Data source:

FAO FISHSTAT Plus

Downloads and more info

Annual aquaculture production by country in (EU-10 + AC + Balkans), 2001

Note: Production includes all environments i.e

Data source:

FAO FISHSTAT Plus

Downloads and more info

Annual production of major commercial aquaculture species groups, 1990-2001

Note: Includes all countries and production environments for which data are available

Data source:

FAO FISHSTAT Plus

Downloads and more info

Key assessment

Annual aquaculture production by major area

A significant increase in total European aquaculture production has been observed in the past 10 years. In general, significant improvements in the efficiency of feed and nutrient utilisation as well as environmental management have served to partially mitigate the associated increase in environmental pressure. The increase in both production and pressure on the environment has not been uniform across countries or production systems.Only the mariculture sector has experienced a significant increase, while brackish water production has increased at a much slower rate and the levels of freshwater production have declined. On a regional level, EU 10 + EFTA countries dominate production by far.

Europe's fish farms fall into two distinct groups: the fish farms in western Europe grow high-value species such as salmon and rainbow trout, frequently for export, whereas lower-value species such as carp are cultivated in central and eastern Europe, mainly for local consumption.

The observed growth in production has not come without problems.  According to DG Fisheries ''the European Aquaculture industry is facing a number of challenges in terms of market and of the environment. Its future will depend on its ability to become economically self-sufficient and its capacity to respond to environmental constraints''.

Production by country

The biggest European aquaculture producers are found in the EU 10 + EFTA region. Norway has the highest production with more than 500 thousand tonnes in 2001, followed by Spain, France, Italy and the UK. These 5 countries account for 75.5 % of all aquaculture production in 34 European countries. Even the smallest of these, the UK, produced 170 thousand tonnes in 2001, which is significantly higher than production in any European country outside of this region. Turkey's production of 67 thousand tonnes represents substantially the highest production in the EU 10 + AC + Balkan region.The country ranking in 2001 in terms of production was very similar to that in 2000.

It is noteworthy that in 2001, farming of Atlantic salmon in Norway (being about 90 % of Norway's total production) exceeded the combined total of all production species from EU 10 + AC + Balkan countries. Spain is the next biggest producer with production dominated by blue mussel, followed by France, with production dominated by the Pacific cupped oyster (Crassostrea gigas). Turkish production consists mainly of trout, sea bream and sea bass.

Production by major commercial species groups

The major part of the increase in aquaculture production has been in marine salmon culture in northwest Europe, and to a lesser extent trout culture (throughout western Europe and Turkey), seabass and seabream cage culture (mainly Greece and Turkey), and mussel and clam cultivation (throughout western Europe), which however exhibits a downward trend since 1999. In contrast, inland aquaculture of carp (mainly common and silver carp) has declined significantly throughout eastern and central Europe (EU 10 + AC + Balkan countries) due partly to political and economic changes in eastern Europe. As in the case of production per country, no significant changes have been observed in production by major species since the last assessment (2000).

Different types of aquaculture generate very different pressures on the environment, the main ones being discharges of nutrients, antibiotics and fungicides. The main environmental pressures are associated with intensive finfish production, mainly salmonids in marine, brackish and freshwaters, and seabass and seabream in the marine environment, sectors which have experienced the highest growth rate in recent years. The pressures associated with the cultivation of bivalve molluscs, which include removal of plankton and local concentration and accumulation of organic matter and metabolites, are generally considered to be less severe than those from intensive finfish cultivation. Pond aquaculture of carp in inland waters usually requires less intensive feeding, and in most cases a greater proportion of the nutrients discharged are assimilated locally. Environmental pressure per unit production is likely to be less than for the more intensive salmonid production. Furthermore, this type of aquaculture has decreased in recent years.

Chemicals, particularly formalin and malachite green, are used in freshwater farms to control fungal and bacterial diseases. In marine farms, antibiotics are used for disease control but the amounts used have been reduced drastically in recent years following the introduction of vaccines. In general, significant improvements in the efficiency of feed and nutrient utilisation as well as environmental management have served to partially mitigate the associated increase in environmental pressure.

 


 

 

 

Specific policy question: What is the environmental performance of aquaculture?

Marine aquaculture production relative to coastline length, 2001

Note: Only marine and brackish waters production

Data source:

FAO FISHSTAT Plus and World Resources Institute

Downloads and more info

Relative contribution of nutrients from marine and brackish water finfish culture in selected countries, 1999

Note: 1

Data source:

FAO Fishstat Plus, Jonsson and Alanara, Ospar Commission, Haugen and Englestad, Beveridge, Helsinki Commission

Downloads and more info

Specific assessment

Production relative to coastline length

The environmental pressures exerted by aquaculture are not uniform. The level of local impact will vary according to production scale and techniques as well as the hydrodynamics and chemical characteristics of the region. Of the EU 15 countries, Spain, France and the Netherlands, and of the EU 10 + Accession countries, Turkey, have the greatest marine aquaculture production in relation to coastline length.

Aquaculture production intensity as measured per unit coastline length has reached an average of around 8 tonnes per km of coastline in EU 10 + EFTA countries compared with 2 tonnes per km in the EU 10 + AC + Balkan region. The pressure is likely to continue to increase as the production of new species such as cod, halibut and turbot becomes more reliable.

By presenting production relative to coastline length, it is possible to determine a more comparable value of production density. This is potentially a better indicator of pressure than a single production value, but there are difficulties with this indicator. It is inappropriate for landlocked countries; it does not apply to freshwater production; it does not consider the area of coastline that is potentially suitable for production; and the determination of coastline length is problematic and relies upon uniform scale being used for each country's determination.

An alternative indicator could be based on the percentage coverage of key coastal habitat types by different types of aquaculture.

Contribution of nutrients from aquaculture to total coastal nutrients loads

Marine finfish aquaculture (mainly Atlantic salmon) is making a significant contribution to nutrient loads in coastal waters, particularly in the case of countries with relatively small total nutrient discharges to coastal waters. For example in Norway (Norwegian and North Sea coasts), phosphorus discharges from mariculture appear to exceed the total from other sources.

In general, the pressure from nutrients from the intensive cultivation of marine and brackish water is becoming significant in the context of total nutrient loadings to coastal environments. However the published data on total nutrient loadings to coastal waters remains poor in quality and inconsistent in coverage;  the conclusions should therefore be treated with caution. 


Data sources

More information about this indicator

See this indicator specification for more details.

Contacts and ownership

EEA Contact Info

Constança De Carvalho Belchior

Ownership

EEA Management Plan

2010 (note: EEA internal system)

Dates

Frequency of updates

Updates are scheduled every 1 year in July-September (Q3)
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