Wednesday, 6 June 2012

European Commissioner: European aquaculture the best but stagnant

In May 2012, Commissioner Maria Damanaki and Nicolaus Berlakovich, Austrian Minister of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management hosted a conference on the future of European Aquaculture.  They discussed how the European Commission, the Member States, the European Parliament and the stakeholders can  ensure the successful future of European aquaculture. 

Firstly, the Commission intends to start a consultation process to identify the problems which prevent European aquaculture form flourishing.

For example, competition for space is a major challenge to the economic development of freshwater fish farming or farming sites in coastal areas.  To tackle this, the Commission will look at how to site aquaculture in water and on land, and also consider the potential co-location with other economic activities. For example, some Member States are researching the option to co-develop aquaculture with wind farms or solar energy plants. 

Maria Damanaki
Maria Damanaki (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
At present, many aquaculture farms are located in or close to Natura 2000 areas which contribute to the maintenance and preservation of aquatic biodiversity. The Commission is developing a set of guidelines to illustrate the compatibility of aquaculture activities and the Natura 2000 nature conservation objectives.

Secondly, customers often have limited access to information about the fish they buy.  The Commission will work towards highlighting quality features properly.  In addition, the proposed creation of an Advisory Council for Aquaculture in our CFP Reform will provide a permanent consultation forum for all interested parties and can contribute to this perspective.

The Commission releases that EU countries have differing aquaculture ambitions so the European framework they suggest will be limited to the main priorities and general targets.

The full details can be found here

On a more personal level, Ms Damanaki made some interesting remarks on the matter on her blog. She believes that European aquaculture is the best in the world but is stagnant.  However, she is positive about the future, stating, "to revive EU aquaculture we need coordinated action by all levels of authorities, EU, national and regional: let’s work together."

About the European Commission
The European Commission oversees and implements EU policies by:
  1. proposing new laws to Parliament and the Council
  2. managing the EU's budget and allocating funding
  3. enforcing EU law (together with the Court of Justice)
  4. representing the EU internationally, for example, by negotiating agreements between the EU and other countries.
There is one Commissioner for each of the 27 member states.  Each Commissioner takes responsibility for one policy area.

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