The aquaculture market in 2023 starts with mixed news

The aquaculture market in 2023 starts with mixed news. Consumers spent more on fish than in the years before, but long-term growth is more difficult to forecast as not all market indicators are up.
17 January, 2023
By Bert Popping

On the one hand, a review of over 110000 European households showed that the expenditure on fisheries and aquaculture products grew 2021 by 7%. And this increase cannot exclusively be explained by inflation alone, which was 1.5% in 2021. Consumers indeed spent more money on fish products, which can partially be attributed to the increased home consumption due to COVID. But also, the out-of-home consumption of processed fish through food services grew by a whopping 15% compared to 2020. But the European (EU-27) fish production dropped by 7%, while countries like Peru (16% increase) and India (7% increase) grew their production.

And Asia is – by far – still the largest fish-producing continent globally:

% global fish production in 2020

The major species produced in Europe are Alaska pollock, blue whiting, cod, and mackerel. A recent report by FAO states that also in 2022, aquaculture production grew by 2.6% globally while fisheries production fell back by 1.2%.

Looking at market indicators for 2023, it is estimated that the year-on-year increase will be lower than in previous years. This is likely due to the falling purchasing powers of fisheries and aquaculture products importers. It remains to be seen, especially with the food price index still significantly up on an annual basis compared to previous years, it remains to be seen which food products consumers choose with the available budget. A similar view is taken by Sumaila et al. in their manuscript “ Aquaculture over-optimism?”, published in November last year (2022).

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