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A new report shows fish supplies in the European Union have fallen to their lowest levels since 2006, with imports doing an about-face in 2012 from growth the previous year.

The report, prepared by the EU Fish Processors and Traders Association, included statistics on finfish supply, imports and exports to and from the E.U. from 2001 to 2012, with estimates for 2013. The association said it hopes the report will be used to help set quotas and other fishery management rules.

"Competition for fish and seafood is now on a global stage and represents one of the
largest sectors of all in international trade," the report indicates in an opening statement. "The need to conduct this trade responsibly has never been greater and within (the association) we have been engaged in several initiatives to ensure our role in this is properly fulfilled and understood."

According to the report, total fish supply of all species in the E.U. experienced a drop in 2012 of 422,000 metric tons (MT) to 13.7 million MT. While the decline is less than one percent, the figure is the lowest recorded total since 2006.

Imports in particular also showed a decline. After enjoying growth in 2011, import volumes dropped 406,000 MT, or 4.4 percent, to 8.815 million MT.

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