EU - The farming of aquatic organisms including fish, molluscs, crustaceans and aquatic plants accounts for less than 20 per cent of fish production in Europe, despite having 14,000 firms and generating 85,000 jobs directly.
Jesús Gamallo Aller, Director-General for the Regional Government of Galicia and rapporteur for the CoR opinion on the future of aquaculture, highlighted the need to focus on sustainability and competitiveness if aquaculture in Europe is to unlock its true potential at a meeting of the Commission for Natural Resources in Gaia, Portugal, today.
"We should be careful not to put wild fishing and aquaculture in competition with one another, but support for the aquaculture sector could help to gradually reduce pressure on wild fish stocks. Accordingly, we can only emphasise the need for complementarity," Jesús Gamallo Aller stressed.
In addition to simplifying administrative procedures and ensuring that those responsible for granting licences are sufficiently trained, the CoR draft opinion highlights the need to improve public communication.
Despite being the fastest growing sector in food production, aquaculture remains surprisingly unknown to many outside of the industry. The rapporteur would therefore like to see more awareness raising campaigns with an emphasis on the benefits of a sustainable, environmentally integrated sector. He also proposes a labelling system to highlight the superior quality of European products.
Local produce and short food supply chains have economic, social and cultural benefits for farmers, fishermen, consumers and rural areas in general.
Jesús Gamallo Aller therefore recommends promoting this aspect of European aquaculture products. "Not only will this help to develop our local economies and cushion the effect of fluctuations on the market, it also responds to rising consumer demands and concerns regarding traceability and safety."
TheFishSite News Desk