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Oceans and fisheries


The EU is the second most important trader of fisheries and aquaculture products in the world in terms of value, on an almost equal foot with China.

EU trade (i.e. extra-EU imports and exports) has increased over the past few years, reaching €33.37 billion and 8,55 million tonnes in 2019. Norway, China, Ecuador and Morocco are the EU’s main suppliers, while the United States, China, Norway and Switzerland are the EU’s main customers.

The EU is a net importer of fisheries and aquaculture products, mostly frozen, fresh and chilled. Spain, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands are the leading importing EU countries.

In 2019 exports to non-EU countries increased to €6.17 billion. Denmark, Spain, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom were the leading exporting EU countries.

Trade between EU countries is very significant, totalling €27.41 billion in 2019. The main exporters to other EU countries are Sweden, the Netherlands, Spain and Denmark. The main importers are France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

Those products can enter the EU market at zero or reduced duties from countries with which the EU has free trade agreements in force or from developing countries that benefit from the EU Generalised System of Preferences (GSP).

Autonomous tariff quotas (ATQs)

Every 3 years, the EU establishes autonomous tariff quotas (ATQs) for certain fish and fish products. An ATQ allows a certain quantity of a product to be imported into the EU at a reduced tariff rate.

The quotas help increase the supply of the raw materials which the EU processing industry relies on, at times when EU supply is not sufficiently high to meet the demand.