May 26, 2016
The EU commissioner for environment, maritime affairs and fisheries, Karmenu Vella, has launched "EU Aquaculture Online", a one-stop-shop information source for businesses on EU rules and member states' strategic priorities to encourage investment in the sector.
During a high-level event held in Brussels, Belgium, on Tuesday, May 24,the European Commission also adopted guidelines on sustainable aquaculture, compatible with environmental protection under the Water Framework Directive and Marine Strategy Framework Directive.
"While the EU only produces 2% of all fish farmed worldwide, when it comes to quality, it is a world leader: be it in product quality, in research, in environmental standards", Vella said.
"Building on this quality, we need to continue our work to help the European aquaculture sector grow, including through improved business certainty and financial support", he added.
The event also served to highlight the progress made over the last years and further actions needed in developing a sustainable aquaculture sector in the EU.
Aquaculture accounts for about 20% of fish production in Europe, but while global production of farmed fish has been growing by nearly 7% per year, the EU's overall output has been more or less constant in volume since 2000.
The Commission intends to boost the aquaculture sector through the Common Fisheries Policy reform. It has adopted strategic guidelines, which identified four priority areas including reducing administrative burdens; improving access to space and water; increasing competitiveness; and exploiting competitive advantages due to high quality, health and environmental standards.
Based on the guidelines, the EC and EU countries are collaborating to help increase the sector's production and competitiveness. EU member states have been asked to set up multiannual plans to promote aquaculture.-Rick Alberto