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EU seafood consumption marginally increased in 2018

Monday, December 16, 2019, 00:00 (GMT + 9)

AIPCE-CEP, an organizacion composed by the EU  Fish  Processors  and  Traders  Association  and the European  Federation  of  National  Organizations  of Importers  and  Exporters  of  Fish,  has released a new edition of its Finfish Study.


The  European  fish  and  seafood  added value processing industry relies on a consistent and sustainable supply of raw materials to satisfy consumer demand for fish products, both for domestic and out-of-home markets. AIPCE-CEP and its members prepare the Finfish Study to use at  EU  and  member  state  level  to  exemplify  the  need  for imported seafood, particularly whitefish, in the production of added value seafood within Europe. The ability to rely on a continuous, sustainable supply of raw materials is a key factor in  maintaining  and  allowing  expansion of  employment  and trade   opportunities   generated   by   the   fish   and   seafood processing industry in Europe.


AIPCE-CEP comprises twenty EU National Associations and two associations from third countries, and the  sector that it represents  account  for more than 3,900 enterprises and 128,000 jobs.

Regarding EU seafood consumption and supply, the key findings of the new study include:

  • Total market supply  (EU-production + third countries  imports)  slightly  grew  to  15.08 million tonnes in 2018 (+0.8%)
  • EU domestic  supply for  consumption marginally increased  by  12  thousand  tonnes  to 5.66 million tonnes(+0.2%)
  • Imports for consumption   from   third   countries increased  by 115  thousand  tonnes to  9.42 million tonnes (+1.2%)
  • Exports to third  countries expanded  by  5.3%  to 2.23 million tonnes
  • Total EU consumption  (EU domestic  supply + Imports –Exports) marginally increased  to  12.85 million tonnes (+0.1%)
  • Consumption  per  capita  in  the  EU stabilized with 25,1 kg per capita in 2018
  • EU import  dependence rate  fluctuates  around 62-63% of total supply


Food balance

The EU market is highly dependent on imported materials for its  markets.   EU domestic   supplycannot   fulfil   the   EU consumer  demands  on  its own,either in volume or species diversity.

EU domestic supply

EU domestic   supply consists   of   EU   catches   and   EU aquaculture  production.  In  2018 80%  of this supply came from EU catches (5.32 million tonnes), whereas aquaculture production reached 1.33 million tonnes. Part of EU catches are intended for  non-food  uses (fishmeal,  fish  oil;  987 thousand tonnes), which make the total EU domestic supply for  food  uses  5.66 million tonnes  in  2018,  an  increase  of 0.2% compared to 2017 (5.65 million tonnes).

Cod: Most important countries for cod in 2018 were Norway (33%), Iceland (25%) and Russia (17%). Where cod volumes of Norway (-5%) and Russia (-11%) decreased, volumes of Icelandic cod increased (+11%) | Saithe: Most important countries for saithe in 2018 were Iceland (36%), Norway (34%) and Faroes Islands (19%). Where saithe volumes of Faroes Islands (-9%) decreased, volumes of Icelandic (+52%) and Norway (+34%) saithe increased

Imports from third countries

Import activity has risen to 9.42 million tonnes, an increase of 115 thousand tonnes compared to 2017 (+1.2%).

Imports from third country are essential to increase the available fish volumes and fish diversity in  the  EU. This  puts  2018  about 3.9% above the average since 2010.

Hake: Most important countries for hake in 2018 were Namibia (38%), South Africa (17%), Argentina (15%) and USA (14%). Where hake volumes of Argentina (-10%) decreased, volumes of Namibian (+5%), South African (+13%) and USA (+36%) hake increased | Alaska Pollock: Most important countries for Alaska pollock in 2018 were USA (40%), China (40%) and Russia (19%). Where Alaska -pollock volumes of USA (-2%) decreased, volumes of China (+2%) and Russian (+45%) Alaska pollock increased

Total supply

Total  supply  for  consumption  in  the  EU  is  based  on  the available  fish  products  (food  use)  gathered  from domestic supply and  imports  from  third  countries together. The  total supply breached  the 15 million tonnes  level, growing to 15.09 million tonnes in 2018 (+0.8%)

Tuna: Import volume decreased to 1,391 thousand tonnes in 2018 (-1%). Most important country for tuna in 2018 was Ecuador (21%), followed by Philippines (9%) and Seychelles (8%). Ecuadorian tuna benefit from free trade agreement between EU and Ecuador | Shrimp: Import volume increased to 900 thousand tonnes in 2018 (+3%). Most important country for shrimp in 2018 were Vietnam (15%; Pacific white shrimp & Black tiger shrimp), Ecuador (14 %; Pacific white shrimp ), Greenland (11%; North -Atlantic cold water shrimp ), Argentina (11%; Argentine red shrimp ) and India (10%; Pacific white shrimp). 

Exports to third countries

Export activity has risen to 2.23 million tonnes in 2018, an increase of 112 thousand tonnes compared to 2017 (+5.2%). Exports represent  around  39%  of  the  total  EU  domestic supply (food use). The assumption is that exports are of EU domestic origin fish  rather  than  re-export  of  materials.  This puts 2018 about 7.9% above the average since 2010.

Most important countries for cephalopods in 2018 were Peru (15%), China (14%) India (13%) and Falkland Isles (13%) | Main surimi processors in the EU are France, Spain and Lithuania. Frozen surimi was responsible for 84% of the surimi imports.

Total consumption

The net result of domestic supply, import and export gives a calculated  consumption  of  total  12.85 million tonnes,  a marginal  increase  of  15  thousand  tonnes (+0,1%). After making  some  restatement for  last  year  this  is  the  second highest  level  since  EU27/28  was  formed  and  confirms  the long term for fish consumption to be rising. The consumption was 3.6% above the average since 2010.

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