Commission calls for cooperation in aquaculture

30 Apr 2013
The EC has issued aquaculture guidelines to develop the sector. Credit: Marine Harvest

The EC has issued aquaculture guidelines to develop the sector. Credit: Marine Harvest

The European Commission has issued strategic guidelines for EU aquaculture, designed to boost the development of the sector.

The guidelines are voluntary, and by using them the Commission hopes that efforts will be coordinated across all Member States to promote an industry that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable and provides consumers with healthy, high-quality seafood.

The Commission sees the aquaculture industry as a viable way of filling the gap between the increasing consumption of seafood and dwindling fish stocks. However, it says that the EU aquaculture industry is stagnating, partly because of slow licensing procedures and administrative inefficiencies at different levels.

“Today, obtaining a licence for a new farm can take up to three years, which obviously deters investors” said European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki. "I want to work with Member States to cut red tape and help the competitiveness of this sector building upon the high level of consumer and environmental protection we currently have."

Four main challenges facing the aquaculture sector have been identified: a necessity to reduce red tape and uncertainties for operators; a need to facilitate access to space and water; a requirement to increase the sector's competitiveness; and a need to improve the level playing field by exploiting the competitive edge of ‘made-in-the-EU’ fish products.

The guidelines address these challenges and identify a mix of measures such as administrative simplification, spatial planning, market organisation, diversification, better labelling and information, to help market forces unlock the potential of the EU aquaculture sector.

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