Aquaculture is the farming of fish, shellfish, aquatic plants, and other aquatic organisms. It is the fastest growing food production sector in the world, now responsible for over half of all global seafood production. The European Union, despite being the world’s largest importer of fish, has experienced very little change in aquaculture production in recent years. However, many EU member states are increasingly encouraging the development of aquaculture, amid safety concerns about imported seafood, as a means of contributing to food security for a growing global population.
Across the EU 1.25m tonnes of fish and shellfish are farmed each year, making it the world's 8th largest producer. The industry supports 85,000 jobs across 14,000 enterprises within the EU. Europeans consume an average of 23kg of seafood each year and nearly a quarter of this comes from aquaculture, demonstrating the contribution of the industry to health and nutrition as well as the economy.