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Fisheries, aquaculture and fish processing

The fishing industry is a small and very healthy sector of the Dutch economy. The principal activities within the production chain are fishing and farming (aquaculture), processing and (international) trade in fish. The Dutch fleet is one of the most modern fishing fleets in the world. The main types of marine fisheries are pelagic trawling (herring, mackerel, blue whiting) and bottom trawling (dover sole, plaice, codfish and brown shrimp). What’s more, a small fleet is involved in coastal fisheries with a variety of fixed gear types. Fresh water fisheries are of limited economic importance in the Netherlands. The aquaculture sector includes the shellfish industry (mussels and oysters in estuarine waters) and fish farmers (mainly eel and catfish).

The latter use closed systems with water recirculation. The Netherlands is an international hub for fish trading. The trade volume greatly surpasses the volume of landed fish catch and aquaculture production. Most fish processed in and/or traded via the Netherlands finds its way to markets in the EU and abroad. Whereas the processing industry is of enormous importance, the work itself actually is outsourced to low wage countries. Dutch fish traders are very keen on finding new production sources. Hence the country has great potential for applicants seeking contacts for the export of their products. Dutch fish processors are leading the European sector in terms of technology, efficiency, hygiene and food quality. Principal activities of the industry include: filleting, freezing, frying, marinating, smoking and packing.

To find out more, please download the sector sheet Fisheries, aquaculture and fish processing on the right hand side of this page.