EU - British Trout Farmers are celebrating a ruling by the EU commission, which prevents Turkish trout farmers’ export of their product to other EU countries at a subsidised price.
A formal complaint was lodged by the Danish Aquaculture Organisation on behalf of all European Trout Farmers earlier this year challenging the Turkish state subsidy on exported trout, claiming that it created unfair competition and that it has imposed huge economic losses on trout farmers from other EU countries.
The Commission concluded that the Turkish state aid does injure the EU industry, and as a result is enforcing a countervailing duty between seven and 9.7 per cent on imported trout from Turkey.
In recent years, UK Trout farmers have experienced increased pressure from the import of subsidised trout into Europe. Turkish imports doubled in the period 2010 – 2013 and at the same time British Trout farmers have also had to contend with an increase in the price of feed, leading to rising production costs and adding further pressure to the industry.
Andy Smith, Chief Executive, British Trout Association commented: “In the UK, the trout industry is largely run by small family businesses, committed to farming of the highest standard in order to deliver top quality product. This leaves the industry particularly vulnerable to potential price wars caused by unfair competition. It is important for our members to see the EU take such strong action on this issue because subsidised Turkish trout has affected farm gate prices and put our members businesses and our rural economy under extreme and unfair pressure.
“It is also great news for the consumer. We know that people care about the story behind their food, and prefer to buy sustainable, high quality, local product with omega 3 rather than well packaged but inferior alternatives. This ruling will help to protect that.”
Brian Thomsen, Director of the Danish Aquaculture Organisation who led the Trout Consortium, said that the industry has taken formal steps more out of necessity than of pleasure: "We could never quietly accept that our business could be undercut by illegal state aid”.
Ensuring free and fair trade is a core priority for The European fish farmer’s umbrella federation FEAP (Federation of European Aquaculture Producers).
Mr Arnault Chaperon, president of FEAP, welcomed the EU Commissions decisiveness: “I strongly endorse the European trout farmer’s commitment to fight against unfair competition and I am pleased to see the EU Commission guard the principles of free and fair trade. We are not afraid of competition, but we want a level playing field.”
TheFishSite News Desk