Trends in aquaculture
Assessment made on 01 Jan 2002
ClassificationFisheries (Primary theme)
Coasts and seas
- FISH 003
Policy issue: There are no general policy targets for aquaculture, though the assessment of the environmental impact of specific installations and fish farms would have to be undertaken under EC legislation (Environmental Impact Assessment Directive 85/337/EEC).
Aquaculture production has increased dramatically in the EEA 18 countries, since 1970, particularly more so in terms of fish compared to shellfish production.
From 1970-1999 there has been a four-fold increase in aquaculture production (fish and shellfish) in the EEA 18 countries, from 417 979 tonnes in 1970 to 1 852 875 tonnes in 1999. Marine fisheries made up the largest proportion of aquaculture in the EEA 18 countries in 1999. The five greatest aquaculture producers (in terms of tonnes of fish and shellfish) in 1999 were Norway, Iceland, Spain, Denmark and the UK. Countries with the highest aquaculture production figures per km of coast in 1999, were the Netherlands (296.4 tonnes/km), followed by France (105.2 tonnes/km), Spain (85.1 tonnes/km), Germany (79.6 tonnes/km) and Italy (54.9 tonnes/km). For the Netherlands, France and Spain especially, the majority of this aquaculture is shellfish production. (It has been reported that shellfish production has a lower environmental impact than fish farming (Action VIII ï¿½ Reduction of environmental impact in CEC 2001)).
Overall, aquaculture production in the Candidate EU Countries has remained fairly stable. The proportion of inland fisheries production was greater in 1999 for the Candidate EU Countries in comparison with the corresponding proportion for the EEA 18 countries. This suggests that inland fisheries production is relatively more important in the Candidate EU Countries than in the EEA 18 countries. Of the top five aquaculture producing countries (Turkey, Poland, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania), Turkey and Poland are also the greatest producers in terms of inland fisheries.
Aquaculture production has increased also because of new feed-types (dry pellets), better quality of feed and improved feed-conversion rates (the amount of food used to produce 1 kg fish). Regarding the species of fish being farmed in 1999; for the EU 15 countries molluscs make up a significant proportion (64 %) of aquaculture production. The 4 most popular species of fish and shellfish farmed are the Blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) (35 %), Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) (17 %), the Mediterranean mussel (Mytilus galloprovincialis) (12 %), Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) (11 %). Shellfish were not farmed by Candidate EU Countries to the same extent as in the EU 15 countries; indeed the proportion of molluscs produced was less than 1 % in 1999. The four most popular species of fish and shellfish farmed in the Candidate EU Countries has a very different composition to that of the EU 15 countries. Common carp (Cyprinus carpio) contributes 36.5 % of total production, Trouts (Salmo spp) 26 %, Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) 10 %, and Gilthead seabream (Sparus aurata) 9.4 %.
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Trends in Aquaculture
For references, please go to www.eea.europa.eu/soer or scan the QR code.
This briefing is part of the EEA's report The European Environment - State and Outlook 2015. The EEA is an official agency of the EU, tasked with providing information on Europe’s environment.
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