The aim of this paper is to analyse the trade in fish and fishery products in the Mediterranean basin. Trade plays a key role in the economy of a country. With reference to the fisheries sector, it appears that the influence of market forces on the management of fisheries (and vice versa) is increasing. After an overview of recent trends in fishery production (capture fishery and aquaculture), the study focuses on the exchange of fishery products, based on data from United Nations (UN)-Comtrade and FAO (for international trade) and Eurostat data (for European Union [EU] trade). The analysis considers both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of trade. The core of the study comprises an analysis of the fish trade between the two sides of the Mediterranean basin, the EU and the non-EU countries. At the European level, the trade in fish products between the northern and the southern Mediterranean is of particular importance when considering recent trends in production and consumption, as well as the legal framework covering both the production and trade sides of the fishery sector. To cope with growing domestic demand (as a result of high and growing standards of living, leading to increased consumption of fish products) and a decrease in fish production (caused by a number of restrictions set by the Common Fisheries Policy [CFP] on catch and effort), EU imports of fish products from the rest of the world are on a constant rise. In these circumstances, neighbouring Mediterranean countries can play a key role, especially in the light of recent liberalization processes, for example, the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (or Barcelona Process) and the Stabilization and Association Process in the western Balkans. The cross-sectoral analysis of fishery production and trade provides a number of conclusions and lessons for the future of fishery management. It is recommended that policy-makers take into account the demand and trade in fish products with regard to the sustainability of marine resources and vice versa.
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