For many small vessels in the EU, seabass represents more than 10% of landing value, peaking at 50% in the Netherlands and 40% in France, according to a new report released today by the European Commission and the European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture.
These fleets, mainly passive gears and hooks and liners, are profitable and can value their catch at the highest price. Sea bass caught with hooks and line can reach the price of up to €35/kg on the French market – the largest market for wild sea bass in Europe.
European sea bass is one of the most valuable fish species caught in Europe. It is a key species for Ireland, France, the UK, Belgium and the Netherlands. France and the UK account for most catches of the stock and important recreational fishing activities take place in both countries, while Ireland catches of this species are only for recreational purposes.
The species is mostly caught in the North Sea, the English Channel and the Bay of Biscay by EU fleets using trawls, seines, nets and hooks and line and commands prices more than 50% higher than farmed sea bass.
The report highlights the main market trends for wild sea bass in Europe, including the fleets’ economic dependency on sea bass, the impact of recreational fisheries, as well as the market segmentation between the wild-caught and farmed product, size of the catch and type of gear used.