According to the FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization, about half of the aquatic food consumed worldwide is produced by fish farms, which grow by about 5% per year. The second half comes from fishery whose growth has stabilized. As a reminder, in Europe, catches of the maritime fishery are strictly controlled and monitored and all fishermen apply the management measures for fish stocks decided for the interest of all.
In Europe, the most developed fish farming industry is undoubtedly the Norwegian salmon farming, global leader of this species with about one million tons of Atlantic salmon produced every year. Though this figure may look important, it represents less than 2 % of the global production of which China holds 60%, mostly in fresh water and issued from a multi-century tradition.
France, pioneer of the European marine fish farming: the European marine fish farming, but for salmon farming, has been started in France in the 80’s, thanks to the combine efforts of research and the first farmers who rendered possible the mastery and the reliability enhancement of larva rearing, weaning and enlarging. Back then, the first marine fish species involved were sea bass and sea bream. This very first technical improvement was essential to the rearing of other marine fish species in large quantity. Ten years have passed, and the efforts provided by research entities and first farmers have resulted in an industry which still build up as other species and other technical enhancements appear.
8 species of marine fishes and crustaceans are currently reared in France. Which are in order of diminishing importance the sea bass, the sea bream, the turbot, the salmon, the meager, the sole and prawns. Production methods have improved in terms of know-how and reliability. French fish farmers may be proud of having some of the oldest, most experimented and performing hatcheries of seabass, seabream, turbot and meager in Europe.
After over 20 years being supported by internationally renowned research, and despite France is at the edge of technology, its fish farm production (about 6.000 tons of marine fishes per year) is still modest in regard of its Mediterranean neighbors (a few thousand tons for each of them and over 100.000 tons in Greece). French marine farms are less numerous, of smaller size and integrated to our shore landscapes for a long time. As for shellfish farming, they require water of the highest quality. This way, they act as an efficient network of sentries in the monitoring of the marine environment quality.