Belgian sea fishing recovers in 2022

Fish & Seafood

In 2022, 13,217 tonnes of fish were sold in Belgian ports, compared to 11,901 tonnes in 2021. According to the new data of Statbel, the Belgian statistical office, this is an increase of 11.1%. These landings by Belgian ships represented a turnover of 79.5 million euros, i.e. an increase of 30.7% compared to the 60.8 million euros registered in 2021. This higher turnover is a direct result of the increase in the average price to 6.0 euros per kilo. This is an increase of 17.7% compared to 2021.

Posted on Mar 30 ,00:05

Belgian sea fishing recovers in 2022

Belgian sea fishing is therefore continuing its 2021 recovery after a strongly divergent year 2020. In that year, as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, both exports and sales to local markets and the horeca sector were severely disrupted. Since then, it has been noted that Belgian ships are again offering more fish in Belgian ports and less abroad. This is partly due to the decrease in quotas in other European ports, for example the cut in cod quotas in Denmark.
In addition, increases in costs and food prices lead to higher prices.

The ports of Zeebrugge and Ostend account for 97% of landings

The quantity of fish landed and sold remains the largest in the port of Zeebrugge, with 50.6% of all fish. The share of the port of Ostend went from 41.9% to 46.8%. The port of Nieuwpoort has a limited share of 2.6%.

Record landings of shrimps

In 2022, landings of shrimps reached a record level of 855 tonnes, i.e. an increase of 136.2%, with a price essentially unchanged (5.4 euros per kg).

Sole is the main target species in Belgian fishing. Belgian auctions were still able to achieve good sales with many potential buyers, despite the slightly lower landings of sole (-2.5%). Prices of sole have increased by 32.2%. This fish accounts for half of the turnover achieved in the Belgian sea fishing industry.

Plaice, which for years has been the second best student in the class, is being pushed down in quantity and value by cuttlefish. Landings of cuttlefish, of no less than 2,033.5 tonnes, showed an exceptional increase of 103.8%. Also in terms of turnover, cuttlefish is the second most important fish species in Belgium, with an average price of €4.1/kg.

Several factors explain the increase in landings: first, cuttlefish are much easier to catch in our waters than in the past, as this species is more widespread in the fishing grounds of the Belgian fishing industry. Second, there is also a market with a relatively favourable price, which makes cuttlefish a seasonal target species for some ships. And third, cuttlefish is not subject to fishing quotas.

For plaice, landings dropped by no less than 21.5% in 2022. The higher price (+25.0%) helped to maintain the turnover of this fish.

Landings of ray increased by 20.5%, but the price went up to 2.6 euros/kg.

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