Skip to main content
EU Blue Economy Observatory
News article2 March 2023Joint Research Centre – Ispra2 min read

EU biomass production, uses, and flows

Insights from the JRC Policy report on biomass supply and use in the EU-27.

A study of biomass supply and their uses in the EU-27, has revealed some interesting insights into this increasingly important source. Studying biomass supply, demand, costs, and impacts is especially crucial for key EU policy areas in order to promote informed and evidence-based policymaking. The latest facts and figures have been published in the JRC policy report on Biomass production, supply, uses and flows in the European Union, for example;


Aquaculture fish supply has reached 1.1 million tonnes. According to FAO estimates, Spain, France, Greece, and Italy account for 66% of total EU aquaculture production in weight and 61% in value in 2020. Additional figures include:

  • Marine fish represent 21% of the weight and 40% of the value of the EU aquaculture production.

  • Molluscs represent 49% of the weight and 27% of the value.

  • Diadromous fish represent 20% of the weight and 24% of the value.

  • Freshwater fish represent 10% of the weight and 7% of the value.

In terms of maritime fishing, the EU landed around 3.9 million tonnes of seafood (including fish) in 2020. Since 2016-17, the EU's seafood supply and economic performance from marine fishing have decreased. This decrease in supply is largely due to measures to limit overexploitation, as well as external factors that have hampered the performance of the EU fishing fleet, including as Brexit, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and, more recently, rising fuel prices.


With its direct and indirect climate change mitigation potential, seaweed (macroalgae) is becoming an increasingly important source of biomass. 

Macroalgae play a vital role in marine ecosystems, contributing to global primary production and supporting complex food webs in coastal zones by converting enormous volumes of CO2 into O2. They are also an important resource in the European Bioeconomy, particularly in the food and chemical industries.

According to 2022 FAO data, the EU-27 Member States imported a total of 157.3 thousand tonnes of seaweed products in 2019 (measured in net product weight) and exported a total of 89.5 thousand tonnes.

Imports and exports of traded products increased in 2020, with imports totaling 173.4 thousand tonnes and exports totaling 98.3 thousand tonnes. Ireland had the most traded seaweed goods in 2020, with 64.8 thousand tonnes imported and 77.9 thousand tonnes exported, followed by France (71.8 thousand tonnes of net product weight imported, and 9.5 thousand tonnes exported).

For further information on fishing and aquaculture sectors read the publication: Possibilities and examples for energy transition of fishing and aquaculture sectors.














Publication date
2 March 2023
Joint Research Centre – Ispra