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Study 2006-15 lot 6: Definition of data collection needs for aquaculture

Published on: Sat, 22/05/2010 - 09:17
Table of Contents

    Aquaculture is by some seen as a sustainable alternative to the harvesting sector. In order to see whether this is true, socioeconomic data is selected and analyzed. In addition, information necessary for measuring the developments of the economic performance of the sector are identified. 

    Why this study?

    Aquaculture is seen as a young business with a large potential, and therefore the Commission launched a Communication on a strategy in 2002 for the sustainable development of European aquaculture with the aim of:

    • Creating long term secure employment, in particular in fishing-dependent areas.
    • Assuring the availability to consumers of products that are healthy, safe and of good quality, as well as promoting high animal health and welfare standards.
    • Ensuring an environmentally sound industry.

    One of the main requirements to achieve these objectives is the availability of sound and accurate economic data so that production trends and socioeconomic factors could easily be monitored.


    The main objective of the study is to identify the data required to assess the economic trends and performance of the EU-27 aquaculture sector and the best mechanisms for collecting this data.


    Relevant studies on aquaculture of the EU-27 have been collected in a data base  accessible at This database provides publication details, abstracts and either the full texts of the studies or references where the studies can be obtained. Based on these studies, the pilot survey and the available statistical information, a ‘Review of the EU aquaculture sector’ has been prepared.

    The feasibility of regular data collection from aquaculture firms has been tested through a pilot survey. On the basis of this pilot survey, the conclusion is that it is possible to collect data on aquaculture on a regular basis. However, for some parts of the sector there is a large number of small producers, many of whom do not maintain detailed accounting records which would allow an easy overview of costs and balance sheet indicators. In other parts production is concentrated in hands of relatively large multinational companies obtaining access to their accounts, beyond publicly accessible annual reports, proved in many cases difficult. Furthermore, vertical integration makes it relatively difficult to specify all costs related to fish farming in sufficient detail. For upcoming new aquaculture activities, carried out by only one or several firms in one Member State the use of the data is constrained by the confidentiality regulations.

    In general, it seems unlikely that surveys by written questionnaires will lead to sufficient response in full-scale future surveys. Provision of statistical information is considered by the firms as an additional administrative burden. It is suggested to have the aquaculture data collection be carried out by organizations which are already involved in data collection either for agriculture (FADN) or for fisheries (DCR). The costs vary significantly between the various MS, depending on the specific local situation.

    Concerning the base-line survey of the EU aquaculture sector a pilot survey was carried out in sixteen participating Member States, covering in total 55 aquaculture segments, defined in terms of species, grow-out techniques and their culture environment. In 2006 the 55 covered segments have produced 1.2 million tonnes of fish with an estimated value of 3.5 billion Euro. These 55 segments represent almost 13,000 firms, which employed a total of about 50,000 persons and some 34,500 FTEs. The gross value added of these segments was almost 1.3 billion Euro, i.e. 37% of the value of production and about 37,600 Euro per FTE. This latter value is broadly consistent with GVA / FTE in many other sectors of the EU economy. The economic performance of the various segments appears to be extremely diverse. As such it is not possible to draw generalized conclusions based on this initial survey.


    Full title: Definition of data collection needs for aquaculture

    Organisations: FRAMIAN BV (coordinator), Institute of Agricultural Economics and Information (ÚZEI), Institute of Food and Resource Economics (FOI), Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute (FGFRI), French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (IFREMER), COFAD Consultants, Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR), Agricultural Economics Research Institute (AKI), Irish Sea Fisheries Board (BIM), Economic Res. Institute for Fisheries and Aquaculture (IREPA), Lithuanian Institute of Agricultural Economics (LIAE), Agricultural Economics Research Institute (LEI), Inland Fisheries Institute (INFISH), Eurico de Brito Consult (EBC), University of Vigo, Swedish Fishery Board (Fiskeriverket), Poseidon Aquatic Resource Management Ltd. (PARM). 

    Full report: