Belgium: Industry study looks at state of European finfish industry, market in 2022

by Eurofish
Cover page of the study

The 2023 edition of the annual AIPCE-CEP finfish study has recently been released, with a review of all the various challenges and opportunities experienced by Europe’s finfish industry during 2022. It was a hectic year, with long-lasting impacts energy prices and supply chains caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the still incomplete implementation of the Brexit agreement, and upsets in market channels and logistics that linger from Covid.

Findings in the report include:  12,092 thousand ‎tonnes of total market supply (EU production + imports); 3,236 thousand tonnes came from EU domestic supply; 8,856 thousand tonnes of 3rd country imports‎; 2,241 thousand tonnes‎ were exported to 3rd countries; 9,851 thousand tonnes as total EU consumption; 22.1 kg per capita consumption; around 67% of total supply‎ dependence on imported product.

The study emphasizes the vital role of foreign trade in finfish supply and demand. Consumers turn away from fish when low supplies from domestic sources cause prices to rise, while availability of imported fish eases that pressure. Recent high inflation generally has made consumers more aware of price gaps between fish and other meats. Trade restrictions also cause slowdowns in the processing sector, which also has suffered from rises in other costs besides raw materials. As a policy recommendation, the report advocates the Autonomous Tariff Quota (ATQ) regime, under which the tariff on imports of a particular product rises once a quota is reached. Used effectively, this type of tariff-rate quota generates further added value, provides jobs, and allows supplies sufficient to meet consumer needs. The report recommends its continued use by the European Commission.


This is the 30th year that this study has been undertaken. The report’s producers are AIPCE (EU Fish Processors and Traders Association) and CEP (European Federation of National Organizations of Importers and Exporters of Fish), which together represent 19 EU National Associations from 12 Member States and 3 National Associations in third countries (UK, Norway, Morocco). Combined, the membership accounts for more than 3,900 enterprises and 128,000 persons (more than 80% representativeness at EU level). The value of the output of the industry represented by AIPCE-CEP amounts to around EUR 30 billion, about three and a half times the turnover of the EU catch sector. The report is available at

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