Fish and Seafood Market Brief – Bulgaria

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By Milthon Lujan

USA.- This report contains information about Bulgaria’s fish and seafood market. It provides an overview of market opportunities and key information and statistics about production, imports, exports, and main EU regulations.

The Bulgarian seafood market is a smaller one in Europe (population 7.2 million, per capita household consumption of fish and seafood of about 5.2 kg.), but many current and potential suppliers find it attractive, offering many opportunities. Bulgarian importers are actively seeking to expand the selection of fish available on the local market, especially mid- to high-value products. Food service outlets are providing a major impetus for this demand, with an increasing number offering high quality fish as a regular menu item.

According to official statistics, the domestic catch of fish increased by 1.8% to 8,842 metric tons (MT) in 2015 as compared to 2014, of which 8,745 MT was from the Black Sea and 97 MT from the Danube River. However, Bulgaria relies heavily on imports to bridge the gap between the steady consumer demand and reduced national output. This means that importers are seeking new suppliers and products to fill the gap.


In 2015 total aquaculture production increased by 28.3% to 2,687 MT, compared to the previous year. This is mainly due to increased production of the two main species, carp (532 MT) and common carp (450 MT).

2015 recorded an increase of 21% in total capture fisheries production of fish and other water organisms for consumption at 13,561 MT. The main portion of aquaculture production in Bulgaria is represented by the species of the carp group (silver carp and carp), and trout group (mainly rainbow trout). The production of all these species has increased in 2015, and is the most notable in silver carp (23.8%), carp (13.6%), and rainbow trout (3.7%).

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Fish consumption in Bulgaria is rater moderate on a per capita basis and is below the average EU level. Per capita household fish consumption in 2015 was 5.2 kg.. This number does not include consumption in restaurants. Cumulative consumption per capita, including consumption in restaurant, is estimated at 8.8 kg. Although the consumption level has remained stable for the last three years, the industry forecasts that it will increase slightly, despite increasing wholesale and retail prices of fish and fishery products, due to rising consumer incomes.

Reference (open):
Fish and Seafood Market Brief – Bulgaria. GAIN Report Number: BU1706


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