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Sustainable Fisheries

Seafood production is in general influenced by trade more than agricultural production. Almost 37% of fisheries and aquaculture production enters international trade, making domestic production highly exposed to markets all over the world. This exposure to trade competition is particularly relevant for the EU given its high, and expanding, dependence on seafood imports. Therefore, increasing the knowledge on seafood market and trade through research and analysis is important for the development and future of the EU seafood industry. The Commission recognises this need through the promotion of initiatives intended to increase market efficiency and support business decisions and policy-making, such as the European Market Observatory of Fishery and Aquaculture Products, which was officially launched in 2013.

Specific research by JRC on seafood trade complements the annual evaluations on the economic performance of the fisheries, aquaculture and seafood processing sectors by the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) and the market intelligence analyses provided by DG MARE in the context of the European Market Observatory for fisheries and aquaculture (EUMOFA).

This website presents the results of the following three main activities performed by JRC in 2014-2015 in relation to seafood trade analyses:


Report on European Trade of Fisheries and Aquaculture Products

The report presents the results of an analysis of the characteristics and evolution of EU seafood trade in the period 2001-2012. The focus of the analysis is on long term seafood trade patterns. The report aims to establish a link between the annual economic reports of the Scientific, Technical and Economic Committee for Fisheries (STECF) and the short term price and trade analyses already regularly provided by the European Market Observatory for fisheries and aquaculture (EUMOFA). The report is structured in the following main sections: International context, EU overview, Examples of trade trends from the national analyses, National chapters. The analyses consist of a description of trade balance, imports and exports by country, year, main commercial species and preservation and processing groupings. In addition, the following three indices were used to describe specific aspects of the trade patterns: Trade Competition Ratio (TCR), used to measure the exposure of domestic markets to trade competition; Normalised Revealed Comparative Advantage (NRCA), used to measure the competitive advantage of the exports of a country for a given product; Margin of exports growth, used to measure how a country is increasing its exports (i.e. either by expanding existing trade relations or by getting access to new markets).
The data considered for the analyses cover world seafood exports and imports in value and volume for the period 2001-2012 extracted from COMEXT and COMTRADE databases.


Report on Impacts of the 2014 Russian trade ban on seafood

In August 2014 Russia introduced a trade ban on imports of main food commodities from the EU, USA, Canada, Australia and Norway. Russia is a main destination for exports of seafood from Norway and 7th in the list of major export partners of seafood for the EU. This report provides an analysis of the impacts of trade ban on international seafood trade. A special focus of the analysis is on the consequences for the fisheries, aquaculture and seafood processing sectors in the EU. The work is based on monthly data from Russian customs and EUROSTAT Comext databases for 2013-2014.
Trade flows affected by the trade ban had a share of 2.8% (6.4 billion euro) to the total annual Russian imports of 2013. Fish and seafood import represented 13% (2.2 billion euro) in relation to the total imports of products affected by the ban, 55% of fish and seafood imports to Russia were originating from the countries listed in the ban.
The major trade flows affected internationally are imports of salmon, herring and trout from Norway and cold-water shrimps from Canada. The impact for the EU is limited. The main trade flows, which might be affected in the EU are cold-water shrimp and trout from Denmark, small pelagics from Eastern and Northern Baltic countries, UK and Ireland, oyster from France, seabass and seabream from Greece.


Seafood trade data and indicators

This dashboard allows the users to explore the EU seafood trade patterns and performance through interactive tables and charts. In particular the website is presenting a series of descriptive analyses on trade balance, trade flows, main commercial partners and trade by processing and preservation and the following three trade indices:
Trade competition ratio (TCR): measuring the extent of exposure to trade competition for seafood
Normalized revealed comparative advantage index (NRCA): measuring the Comparative advantage of EU seafood exports
Margins of Export Growth (MEG): measuring the extent to which a country gets access to new markets and expands export opportunities.
It is important to note that all figures shown are not official trade statistics, but estimates complementing as electronic annexes specific JRC analyses on historical seafood trade patterns. More recent and precise statistics and analyses on seafood trade can be found at EUROSTAT and through the European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products (EUMOFA).
More information on the methods of calculation of the indices and estimates can be found here.