CONSUMERS in the European Union are buying less fish, but are spending more money it, a new report suggests.
The development is highlighted in the authoritative EU Fish Market report which has just been published. The downward trend has been going on since 2008 with consumption dropping by 2kg a year since that time despite constant exhortations that fish is good for health.
Nevertheless, the report says that Europeans remain major consumers of seafood dominated by captured or wild caught fish which accounts for three quarters of the total. Aquaculture makes up the remaining 25 per cent. Tuna, cod and salmon remain the most popular products with an average consumption of 2 kg per capita respectively.
The report says the EU is the largest trader of fishery and aquaculture products in the world in terms of value. Values of EU imports have been increasing steadily since 2009, at an average rate of six per cent per year, reaching €21 billion in 2014. Europe imports at least four times more seafood than meat in value.
The main supplier is still Norway, which accounts for a quarter of the total, largely selling fresh salmon and cod. Norway’s exports to the EU have increased by a remarkable 70 per cent since 2009.
EU exports, amounting to €4.3 billion and two million tonnes in 2014, have gained 70 per cent in value compared to five years ago.
Retail prices of fish and seafood have been on a steady increase for the last few years, and growing faster than meat and other food. However, the pace has been slowing down since 2012.
The report on the EU’s fish market 2015 has just been published on the website of the European market observatory for fisheries and aquaculture products (EUMOFA) and is available in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.