Fish, seafood and aquaculture products
ver the last decades, due to the rapid population growth and income and growing health consciousness in some developing countries, global aquaculture presented a global increase in the consumption of fishery products.
According to FAO, aquatic foods are increasingly recognized for their key role in food security and nutrition, not just as a source of protein, but also as a unique and extremely diverse provider of essential omega-3 fatty acids and bioavailable micronutrients. Prioritizing and better integrating fisheries and aquaculture products in global, regional and national food system strategies and policies should be a vital part of the necessary transformation of our agrifood systems.
Europe is the fifth largest producer worldwide and the second largest seafood importer. Spain, Denmark and France are the largest producers in terms of volume in the EU. The top three importing nations (Spain, Italy and France) are also the major processing nations.
The European seafood market is usually divided into three main regions: Southern, North-western and Eastern Europe. The Southern European market mostly imports and consumes headless shell-on (HLSO) products and the rest of Europe has shifted towards a strong demand for convenience products, ready-to-eat or easy to prepare (peeled and cooked shrimp sometimes with sauce, or breaded shrimp ready for deep-frying).
The demand for sustainable seafood that was limited to North-western Europe and the Nordic countries is also on the rise in Southern and Eastern Europe.
Aquaculture is a significant activity in many Member States. The main aquaculture-producing Member States in terms of volume are Spain, France, Italy and Greece.
The main EU contributors to the fish processing industry are Spain and France.
Currently the EU is focused on Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture programs.
Currently FAO is working on Ciguatera poisoning, effective monitoring programs of bivalve molluscs, Harmful algal blooms (HABs), seaweeds, microplastics, group B Streptococcus (GBS) disease, Vibrio parahaemolyticus and V. vulnificus, water quality, fish consumption, digital solutions, antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and continue activities in food safety and quality for fisheries and aquaculture products.
Types of fish, seafood and aquaculture products
The different types of seafood :
- Fresh products: whole or pre-cut fresh fish, molluscs and shellfish.
- Dried, marinated, salted or smoked fish.
- Frozen or deep-frozen fish: these seafood products include mainly marine and freshwater fish, shellfish and crustaceans.
- Canned fish: tuna, sardines and mackerel are the main species used in canned fish, either plain, seasoned or incorporated into a cooked dish.
- The seafood delicatessen section: the delicatessen products are evolving on the market and constitute a very heterogeneous category that includes fish-based rillettes, tarama, surimi, fresh ready-made meals based on seafood products, etc.
- Seaweed: appreciated for its health benefits (minerals, fibre, etc.), seaweed is consumed in fresh, dehydrated or processed form (gelling agents, thickeners, etc.).
Regulatory Framework of fish, seafood and aquaculture products
Regulation (EC) No 853/2004 hygiene rules for food of animal origin
Regulation (EC) No 2073/2005 microbiological criteria for foodstuffs
Regulation 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers
Regulation (EC) No 1333/2008 food additives (sweeteners, colourants,…)
Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 contaminants in foodstuffs
Regulation (EU) No 37/2010 Pharmacologically active substances – veterinary drugs in foodstuffs of animal origin
Regulation (EC) No 470/2009 Residue limits of pharmacologically active substances in foodstuffs of animal origin
Regulation (EU) No 1379/2013 organisation of the markets in fishery and aquaculture products
Council Regulation (EEC) No 2136/89 marketing standards for preserved sardines and sardine-type products
Council Regulation (EC) No 2406/96 marketing standards for certain fishery products
Countries’ regulations are in place in most of the EU countries.