GERMANY, EU - Did you know that aquaculture products make up a quarter of seafood consumed in the EU? Or that the EU is the 8th largest aquaculture producer in the world – even if its share is only 1.53 per cent?
If not, you're not alone: many people in Europe know very little about aquaculture. The European Commission is trying to change this. An important step: bringing aquaculture into schools to raise awareness among children and teenagers, Europe's future consumers of fish and seafood.
The Commission has developed a handy school kit for teachers, providing material to raise awareness of aquaculture among schoolchildren aged 12 to 18. The booklet contains information on how to integrate aquaculture into lessons and encourage pupils to learn more about aquaculture in their community. Pupils are encouraged to meet a local fish farmer or researcher and develop a project showing what they have learnt: in videos, cookbooks, experiments, webpages…
On Monday, 18 January, the Commission organised an event at the International Green Week in Berlin to promote this booklet, part of the Commission's "Farmed in the EU" aquaculture campaign, among German aquaculture stakeholders and educators.
Two German schools took part in testing the school kit in 2015 and used the event to share their – largely positive – experiences. In addition participants learned about aquaculture in Germany and the EU, and about future areas of research.
Both educators and aquaculture experts proved enthusiastic about using the "Farmed in the EU" school kit to introduce young people to aquaculture. But they also agreed that more needed to be done to encourage networking between the education and aquaculture communities and to match schools with aquaculture experts from the region.
Gaining further support from both sides will be crucial to disseminate the school kit across Europe and make sure a maximum of schools benefit.
Visitors at the International Green Week still have the chance to find out more about the "Farmed in the EU" campaign, the school kit and European aquaculture in general at the European Commission stand themed "From Farm to Fork" in the ErlebnisBauernhof Hall (Hall 3.2.).
There, they can not only learn about European agriculture and food safety, but also about fish farming, how it benefits the environment and human health, and how it contributes to a sustainable supply of fisheries products in the EU. A quiz and other games for visitors of all ages introduce fish farming to a wider audience.
The International Green Week, which takes place from 15-24 January 2016, is a one-of-a-kind international exhibition for the food, agricultural and horticultural industries, which last year drew crowds of 415,000 visitors, including more than 5,000 journalists.
TheFishSite News Desk