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EU Aquaculture Assistance Mechanism

Background information

Type of species farmed (Source: 2022, EUMOFA; 2022, STECF; Finland, personal com., January 13, 2023) 

Rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), European whitefish (Coregonus lavaretus), Pikeperch (Sander lucioperca), Sea trout (Salmo trutta), Arctic charr (Salvelinus aplinus) and Sturgeon (Acipenseridae). Rainbow trout and whitefish are the species mainly produced. 

Type of production method (Source: 2022, Natural Resources Institute Finland, Luke; 2022, EUMOFA) 

In 2021, 79% of Finnish production occurred in brackish water and 21% in freshwater. In 2019 the following main production methods were used: 

  • 81% of production: in cages, almost entirely in brackish water. 
  • 12% of production: in tanks and raceways in freshwater. 

The rest was farmed using other methods for which no detail is available. 

Sector’s size (production and consumption) (Source: 2022, Luke; 2023, EUMOFA) 

  • Production: 14.400 Tn; 73.300 thousand € (2021, Luke) 
  • Consumption of fishery and aquaculture products (2021): 20,63 Kg per capita (2022, EUMOFA) 
  • % Variation in consumption 2021/2020: -5% 

Trends (past and future) (Source: MNSPA) 

  • In Finland, aquaculture is a key part of the fisheries sector and systematic efforts have been made to restore it to a sustainable growth path. Important developments in recent years have been the location of fish farming in open sea areas, the significant efforts made in recirculation water or RAS farming and the ongoing industry dialogue to develop the sector. In addition, the sector is moving towards a circular economy through the increased use of Baltic feed from herring and sprat. 
  • A competitive and growth-enhancing environment: Legislation and governance to support sustainable growth and renewal, as well as funding, R & D and a well-functioning education and training system, are key elements of a competitive environment. 
  • Sustainability and Responsibility: The environmental and social sustainability of aquaculture production is a fundamental prerequisite for action. The growth of aquaculture must be consistent with water quality and environmental obligations and other environmental objectives. The Finnish sector has taken major steps to reduce its nutrient load and currently only stands for under 2 percent of the nutrient load in Finland. 
  • Fish welfare and health: It is important to ensure the well-being of fish, as even a single failure can seriously undermine the sector’s reputation. Develop and implement a program to ensure the welfare of fish and to increase scientific knowledge about it.

Impact of aquaculture in the country’s economy, food market and labour market (Source: MNSPA) 

  • Aquaculture has a central part of the fisheries industry in Finland, and it has potential for a sustainable increase in production. Finns consume a higher proportion of imported fish compared to domestic fish. This balance is to be improved through a sustainable increase in aquaculture production.  
  • In Aland region: fish farming as an important economic sector for Åland’s sustainable development. The industry creates jobs and contributes to a viable archipelago.

Challenges and opportunities (Source: MNSPA) 


  • The key challenge has been to reconcile the objectives of good status in the aquatic environment with the growth of aquaculture. 
  • To increase domestic fish supply and share of consumption sustainably by developing a programme to promote domestic fish (‘Domestic Fish Promotion Programme’). The increased demand for fish would be mainly driven by an increase in the use of domestic fish. It also aims at a significant increase in the volume of exports of fish products. 
  • Develop modelling and assessment methods for the environmental impact of aquaculture in order to improve the quality and predictability of the environmental permit process. 
  • Promote profitability, technical development, energy economy and reduction of the carbon footprint of RAS farms, as well as the development of water treatment methods. 
  • Explore and implement measures for the development of organic aquaculture in Finland and the development of new low-trophic species such as seaweed farming. 
  • The good fish health situation in Finland can be considered as a competitive advantage for Finnish aquaculture. However, the risk of deterioration of the fish disease situation is increasing. In addition, global warming poses challenges for the welfare of salmonids in particular. 
  • Innovation and development programme for the Åland aquaculture industry in order to stimulate the development, efficiency and refinement of its technology. 


  • Support sustainable and profitable growth, competitiveness, renewal and added value of the industry by directing funding from the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF) to industrial investment projects, development and research. It will also support the identification and development of areas suitable for aquaculture and the development of infrastructure for the benefit of aquaculture. Continue the private-public partnership innovation programme for aquaculture and boost business development through the EMFAF. 
  • Updating the marine location management plan and the criteria guiding the development of the plan, taking into account the impact of aquaculture, the state and diversity of the marine environment and the needs of aquaculture enterprises and other uses of water. 
  • Introduction of emission-based environmental permits that encourage the reduction of specific loads. This will encourage the industry to develop and introduce new eco-innovations that enable production to grow without increasing emissions. 
  • Develop and study production and technology in recirculation facilities, inland waters and open seas, including domestic nursery production. 
  • Working on the state waters suitable for aquaculture in order to build the best knowledge base for permit applications and speed up permit processes. On this basis, create a model of best licensing practice. 
  • Develop an approach to the exploitation of state waters for sustainable aquaculture. 
  • Explore the introduction of regional load quotas for aquaculture, which would make it possible to predict the environmental impact of the activity in the long term and support the sector’s growth. 
  • Targeting investment support for energy efficient and renewable energy installations. 
  • Promote the export of aquaculture products and knowledge and technology. 
  • Communicating good practices in aquaculture systems to consumers and by continuing and increasing their contribution to fish welfare. 
  • Ensure a high level of food quality and safety of aquaculture products throughout the value chain by investing in long-term private and public sector development and supporting the quality of enterprises. 
  • R & D and investment aid to diversify aquaculture production. 
  • Explore different ways to improve risk management in the aquaculture sector (e.g., insurance, loan guarantees) and opportunities to increase the supply of skilled labour. 
  • Develop a recommendation to ensure fish welfare.

Employment and number of enterprises (Source: 2022, Luke; MNSPA) 

  • In Finland there were 237 aquaculture companies in 2021. 
  • Number of persons employed/year directly in fish farming in Mainland Finland was 170 persons (732 persons indirectly) and in the Aland region: 47 (2017). 

MNSP to develop sustainable aquaculture

Published National Strategic Plan on Aquaculture: Aquaculture strategy 2030 for Mainland Finland  (in Finnish) 

Summary in English of the "Published National Strategic Plan on Aquaculture": Finnish aquaculture strategy 2030

Relevant Authorities

Applicable Legislation

Åland legislation: 

  • The Åland Provincial Water Act (ÅFS 1996:61) 
  • Provincial Decree (2007: 57) on the farming of rainbow trout and salmon in hast. 
  • Act of Åland (2008: 124) on environmental protection. 
  • Act of Åland (2018: 31) on Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Assessment. 
  • Provincial Decree (2018: 33) on Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Assessment. 
  • Act of Åland (2018: 83) on the enrichment of the National Waste Act. 
  • Act of Åland (1990: 32) on the enrichment in the province of Åland of national statutes on chemicals.  

Applicable Procedures

Environmental permits: Permits are granted by the Regional State Administrative Agency in Mainland Finland and on Åland by the Environmental and Health Protection Agency (ÅMHM): In Mainland Finland the permits are based on the amount of nutrients added through the feed or the net load of nutrients. Åland’s environmental permits for aquaculture are regulated on the basis of the net load of nutrients. 

National associations and networks

Contact Details

Name and surname: Orian Bondestam 

Position held and name of the organisation: Ministerial Adviser at the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Finland 

Email address:  


Summary in English of the "Published National Strategic Plan on Aquaculture" for Finland
(501.76 KB - PDF)