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EU seafood consumption has risen over the past 10 years. Although capture fisheries supply has declined, most of the increase in EU seafood consumption has come from import rather than growth of EU aquaculture. Aquaculture is one of the pillars of the EU’s Blue Growth Strategy. As outlined in the reform of the CFP, the EU aquaculture industry could provide a viable alternative to overfishing and generate growth and jobs in both coastal and inland areas, if only it can enter a virtuous spiral of robust and sustainable growth. Each percentage point of current EU fish consumption produced internally through aquaculture could help create between 3.000 and 4.000 full time jobs.
However, the viability of European fisheries and aquaculture sectors is not ensured long term, as they face increasing competition in the global marketplace both for inputs and outputs. EU capture fisheries have decreased in recent years while the overall world supply of captured fish has remained relatively constant during the last 20 years. At the same time global aquaculture production has increased steadily, but within EU the supply from aquaculture production remains stable. Currently EU supplies about 5% of the global capture fisheries and 3.5% of the world aquaculture production. Therefore EU is increasingly relying on non-European sources of seafood; in 2012, EU imported 64% of whitefish required for its processing sector.
These challenges lead to various societal problems in relation to the seafood industry. This is a RTD project called “Developing Innovative Market Orientated Prediction Toolbox to Strengthen the Economic Sustainability and Competitiveness of European Seafood on Local and Global markets” or PrimeFish where an attempt is made to address some of these challenges.
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