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EU Aquaculture Assistance Mechanism

Background information

Type of species farmed (Source: 2022, EUMOFA; 2022, STECF; France, personal com., February 3, 2023) 

Oyster, Mussel (Mytilus spp.), Rainbow Trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss), European seabass (Dicentrarchus labrax)), Gilthead seabram (Sparus aurata). Freshwater production: sturgeon (caviar) and species reared in ponds like carp, pike, pike perch, roach), in aquatic plant: macro algae, micro algae and spirulina.  

Type of production method (Source: 2023, EUMOFA) 

According to Eurostat,in 2021, 80 % of the French production occurred in sea and brackish waters (almost entirely in marine waters) and 20% in freshwater. The following main production methods were used: 

  • 69% of production: off bottom in sea and brackish water. 
  • 15% of production: tanks and raceways in freshwater. 
  • 5% of production: on bottom in sea and brackish water. 
  • 3% of production: on cages in sea and brackish water (slight portion in freshwater). 
  • 3% of production: in ponds, almost entirely in freshwater (slight portion in sea and brackish water). 
  • 2% of production: in recirculation system in freshwater 

The rest (3%) was farmed using other methods for which no detail is available. 

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

  • Production (2021): 193.394 Tn; 781.033 thousand €  
  • Consumption of fishery and aquaculture products (2021): 32,18 Kg per capita   
  • % Variation in consumption 2021/2020: -1%  

Trends (past and future) (Source: MNSPA) 

  • Simplification of administrative procedures 
  • Spatial planning 
  • Animal health and welfare 
  • Environmental performance, 
  • Innovation 
  • Data collection and communication 

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

  • Domestic production of aquatic products covers only a quarter of consumption. 
  • French shellfish farming is the second largest in Europe, with an average production of 140 000 tonnes of seafood. It is characterised by a high degree of heterogeneity in terms of farming conditions, both in terms of species (oysters, mussels, clams, etc.) and the diversity of production sites along the French coast. 
  • French fish farming is the third largest producer of freshwater trout in Europe. France also stands out as one of the world's leading caviar producers in the world (with 43 tonnes per year) and as a pioneer in the field of marine farming in Europe, thanks to its mastery of fish farming and fish feed. 
  • In recent years, the seaweed cultivation sector, in particular spirulina, is booming. 
  • These sectors are very dynamic in terms of research and innovation, especially in fish farming. 
  • However, in spite of the potential of these sectors, the development of aquaculture remains limited. The sectors face a lack of attractiveness, linked to difficult working conditions, the lack of image among the population and the low social acceptability of new projects. 
  • French aquaculture contribute to the development of the coastline and rural territories, as they provide create jobs that cannot be relocated, within family businesses. 
  • Increasing aquaculture production to supply local consumption and an improvement in aquaculture quality. 

Challenges and opportunities (Source: MNSPA) 


  • French aquaculture must meet the expectations of society and citizens and maintain a high level of economic and environmental performance. 
  • The challenges of today and tomorrow lie more in the continued legal reinforcement of installations and the implementation of the progress plan to facilitate the development of fish farms, including freshwater pond fish farming.  
  • The sector should continue to position itself in foreign markets, while supplying the domestic market with healthy products with a low carbon footprint and high added value. 
  • Focusing on the caviar quality: Consolidate current market shares, with the future PGI. "Caviar d'Aquitaine". 
  • Developing smoked trout production to supply a growing and demanding national market. 
  • Pond fish farming: to reverse the trend by supporting these extensive farms, which contribute to biodiversity, local animation and the supply of local proteins.  
  • Strengthening shellfish farming: new developments prospects, new locations, new products, new markets. 
  • Improving aquaculture image in terms of environmental impact, to which is added the issue of animal welfare. 
  • Enabling the development of Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA). 
  • Produce healthy and well-treated fish that meet health and societal requirements, with a viable economic model and by-products generated in complete safety. 


  • French aquaculture has strong growth potential. 
  • Aquaculture products contribute to the diversification protein sources and offer a local supply with a limited carbon footprint. 
  • Potential development of mussel and oyster productions. 
  • Approaching a new target production (1000 Tn by 2027) in the seaweed aquaculture production with a great potential market. It’s a young sector: it combines the cultivation of macroalgae, microalgae and cyanobacteria (spirulina). 
  • Promoting individual and collective actions of vigilance to keep preservation of marine space and improving the quality of shellfish waters and maintaining the maritime public domain in order to preserve and even restore these areas dedicated marine farming. 
  • The development of new offshore production methods, e.g., taking advantage of offshore wind energy zones, will have to be taken into account. Maritime safety issues will have to be taken into account in the implementation of these projects. 

Employment and number of enterprises (Source: National Aquaculture Survey Data) 

  • 2 817 companies employing 19 345 persons (11 332 full time equivalent) 

MNSP to develop sustainable aquaculture

Published National Strategic Plan on Aquaculture: Plan Aquacultures of the Future 2021-2027 (in French)

Summary in English of the "Published National Strategic Plan on Aquaculture": Plan Aquacultures of the Future 2021-2027

Relevant Authorities

Applicable Legislation

Applicable Procedures

  • From 20 tonnes produced per year, a fish farm falls under the ICPE authorisation regime, and the environmental assessment on a case-by-case basis, involving indispensable environmental procedures. 
  • Animal health approval 

Relevant Websites

  • GeoLittoral - the portal of the sea and the coast 
  • National Reference Centre for Animal Welfare (CNR BEA
  • Marine Mollusc Pathology Surveillance Network (REPAMO
  • Microbiological Control Network (REMI
  • Phytoplankton and Hydrology Observation and Monitoring Network in Coastal Waters (REPHY
  • Légifrance 

Contact Details

Name and surname: Fanny Faure, Lydie Wendling, Soizic Schwartz 

Position held and name of the organisation: Head, deputy head and policy officer with Bureau de l’aquaculture, DGAMPA, State Secretariat for the Sea 

Email address:,,,  


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