Summary of our market study

Fish farming is a rapidly growing global industry, with farmed fish constituting 52% of fish consumed by humans and this figure is expected to rise to 62% by 2030. World fish production, largely dominated by Asia and specifically China, has been increasing, especially in terms of value at an annual average of 8%. The majority of Asian production happens in freshwater, contrasting with Europe's focus on marine species and Africa's on brackish water species. While France boasts a significant number of fish farms (approximately 700 approved for animal health) and focuses on fish like trout and sea bass, its national production does not align with the primary fish consumption preferences of the French public, which leans towards salmon and cod. France's fishery and aquaculture product imports significantly exceed its exports, resulting in a coverage rate of only 27.9%.

The sector has faced economic challenges, leading to industry consolidation and internationalization, as seen in the actions of companies like Aqualande and Gloria Maris, which have expanded operations through acquisitions. French fish farmers are also adapting to consumer and environmental demands by pivoting towards sustainable and organic farming practices, alternative methods like aquaponics, and exploring high-value niches like smoked trout and caviar production. Despite these innovations, the fish farming market still encounters significant regulatory requirements for operation setup and animal health standards. As of 2020, there is no specific numerical data provided post-2018 or 2019 in the text to be included.

Key Trends and Dynamics in the French Fish Farming Market

France sees fish farming as a significant sector, though it faces challenges and opportunities that set the stage for its current trends. As of recent reports, fish farming contributes to 11% of French fish consumption, indicating the importance of this industry within the country. There are approximately 700 fish farms approved for animal health in France, showcasing a robust infrastructure for aquaculture that meets international standards.

The French market, however, presents a contrast between the dynamism of the global market and the stagnation seen locally. Despite the world market for farmed fish thriving, with expected growth from 52% to 62% of human consumption by 2030, France's fish farming sector has seen a decline in turnover, which fell to around $184.5 million in 2017. This decline sharply contrasts with the early 2000s when the industry had higher production levels and growing turnover. In terms of consumer preferences, French households demonstrate a penchant for specific fish, with salmon and cod accounting for almost half of the country's fresh fish consumption.

However, the fish produced by French farms, namely rainbow trout and sea bass, represent a smaller portion of consumption, at about 4.5% and 3.2% respectively. Sales in the fresh fish sector are heavily skewed towards supermarkets and hypermarkets, which distribute 68% of fresh fish and even larger shares of refrigerated and canned products. The centralized role of these retail giants indicates that most French consumers purchase their fish from large retailers rather than local fishmongers or direct from producers.

Fish prices in France have seen a notable increase, averaging a 15% rise from 2015 levels. Distribution prices vary significantly based on the type and preparation of the fish, ranging between approximately $15 and $35 per kg, with processed options like smoked salmon reaching the higher end of the price spectrum. The industry's segmentation reveals a mix of large groups and individual farms, with entities such as Gloria Maris Group and Aqualande representing larger entities that have engaged in consolidation and internationalization, aiming to leverage economies of scale and expand market reach.

Individual farms have also invested in new production methods that promise sustainability and higher added value, including venturing into organic farming and exploring aquaponics. The regulatory environment is stringent, with rigorous health rules governing the industry. Operators must comply with numerous administrative authorizations, depending on production levels,

Key Players in the Global Fish Farming Industry Landscape

  • The global fish farming market operates within a complex network of suppliers, intermediaries, and end-consumer markets, with a distinct set of challenges and opportunities. At the forefront of the industry are companies that not only shape the direction of aquaculture but also demonstrate resilience and innovation to maintain their position in a competitive landscape. Below, we detail some of these influential companies.


  • The Gloria Maris Group has positioned itself as a notable entity in the fish farming sector. With strategic acquisitions, such as the takeover of the Palma d'Oro fish farm in Sardinia in 2013, the group has expanded its operational capabilities and market reach. Focused on high-added-value species like the umbrine, Gloria Maris has participated in encompassing the breadth of the market. Their diversification and expansionary moves have enabled them to navigate the complexities of the industry effectively.


  • Aqualande, a French leader in fish farming, has been at the forefront of sector consolidation. By acquiring several fish farms, including five from the Norway Seafood Group in 2013, Eurotrucha in 2017, and Piszolla in 2018, Aqualande is setting an example of how strategic growth through acquisition can pave the way for greater market control and resource pooling. Their moves reflect an astute understanding of how to thrive in the global market despite funding difficulties faced by many in the industry.


  • Brittany Fish Farms in Brittany stand as testament to regional specialization within France. Concentrated in areas with significant national production, these farms effectively utilize the geographic and natural advantages of marine farming. They contribute notably to the French fish farming sector’s focus on high-quality produce such as sea bass, which is farmed extensively along the coastal waters of Brittany.


  • Vasseur Fish Farming:  Although not as expansive as some of its contenders, Vasseur Fish Farming holds a significant role in the French market by supplying locally farmed fish like trout. The commitment to sustainable farming and adherence to stringent health regulations demonstrates Vasseur's dedication to maintaining quality and upholding industry standards.


  •   Bellet Trout exemplifies the importance of niche specialization within the fish farming industry. With a focus on freshwater trout production, Bellet Trout provides to a specific segment of the market that values the delicacy and quality of locally farmed trout.
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Summary and extracts

1 Market overview

1.1 Definition and scope of study

The fish farming is one of the branches of aquaculture that refers to the farming of fish in fresh water (pond fish farming), in brackish water (salmon farming) or in saline water (marine fish farming). There are two main types of fish farming: production in pond and production intensive at artificial pool or in cages . Fish farming marine and new is developing mainly in the Mediterranean basin, in sea waters.

More than 500 production sites in France are listed for nearly 300 commercial companies. Production activity is concentrated in 3 major regional basins : New Aquitaine, the Hauts de France and Brittany concentrate more than ¾ of the national production. France is a large producer and breeder of fish in Europe France, for example, produces nearly 40,000 tonnes of trout in 2016, making it the third largest producer of freshwater trout in Europe.

France is pioneer in marine fish farming but only produces about 5,000 tonnes of marine fish, compared to more than a million salmon in Norway, for example. In addition, France is now one of the world's leading producers of major consumer markets of aquatic products in the European Union: the tuna is the first species consumed, followed by salmon, cod, trout and tropical fish


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Latest news

Aqualande relies on water recirculation - 23/09/2023
  • The Aqualande Group operates 41 fish farms in southwest France.
  • Aqualande generates sales of 175 million euros.
  • The group produces 15,000 tons of trout a year.
  • Aqualande is testing closed-circuit systems that would enable up to 96% of the water to be reused.

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Gloria Maris Groupe
Piscicultures de Bretagne
Pisciculture Vasseur
Truites Bellet

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