In 2021, an estimated 1.1 million tonnes of aquatic organisms were farmed in the EU, valued at 4.2 billion euros. Aquaculture, also known as aquafarming, involves the controlled cultivation of fish, molluscs, and crustaceans.
Four EU countries collectively accounted for about two-thirds (68 percent) of the total production of farmed aquatic organisms in 2021: Spain 25 percent, France 17 percent, and both Italy and Greece 13 percent.
Nevertheless, production within the EU was less than that of Norway, where 1.6 million tonnes of aquatic organisms were produced, most of which was farmed salmon.
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Production in the EU is focused primarily on finfish species (such as trout, seabream, seabass, carp, tuna, and salmon) and molluscs (including mussels, oysters, and clams), which together accounted for almost all of the aquaculture production by weight in 2021. Different aquatic organisms command different prices. The production value of trout and seabass in 2021 was higher than other species in the EU (each accounting for a 14 percent share of the total value of the EU’s aquatic farming in 2021).
There is a high degree of aquaculture specialisation within the EU. Spain produced about seven in every 10 tonnes of the EU’s farmed Mediterranean mussels in 2021. France farmed most the EU’s Pacific cupped oysters (88 percent of the total) and was the main provider of the EU’s farmed blue mussels (45 percent of the total). Italy produced the vast majority (92 percent) of the EU’s farmed Japanese carpet shell. Greece produced most of the EU’s farmed gilthead seabream (69 percent of the total) and European seabass (53 percent). Farmed Atlantic bluefin tuna was most produced in Malta (72 percent of the EU total), while Ireland was responsible for almost all the farmed salmon in 2021 (96 percent).