Ecolabelling report adopted by the European Commission

The European Commission has adopted a report on the feasibility of an EU ecolabel scheme for fishery and aquaculture products.

Three options for action by the EU are analysed in the report: reinforcing the use of existing tools; minimum requirements set by the EU; or establishing an EU-wide ecolabel scheme. It discusses each option's feasibility, advantages and disadvantages.

Ecolabels assure customers that the certified products comply with certain standards, for instance that they are sustainably sourced.

The EU is the world's biggest market for certified fishery and aquaculture products, although the importance of ecolabels varies across Member States. The EU ecolabelling landscape is concentrated. Few ecolabels concentrate most of the certified products and are complementary in terms of products covered.

Ecolabels for fisheries and aquaculture products are widely seen as a way to improve fisheries management. While not without critics, ecolabels are also a mechanism to develop new markets or increase market access and target consumers selecting products based on environmental criteria

The report finds no evidence of explicit market failures or regulatory gaps when it comes to ecolabelling of fisheries and aquaculture products. Nor does it find such ecolabels to be fundamentally different from those in other sectors such as wood or palm oil, where ecolabels remain private market-based instruments.

The report will now be debated by the European Parliament and the Council. It can be found here.

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