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European Commission Adopts Ecolabelling Scheme Report

20 May 2016

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

The report analyses three options for action by the EU: reinforcing the use of existing tools; mimimum requirements set by the EU; or establishing an EU-wide ecolabel scheme. It discusses each option's feasibility, advantages and disadvantages.

Eco-labels are a form of voluntary information to consumers. They provide assurance 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 eco-labels 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 eco-labelling of fisheries and aquaculture products. Nor does it find such eco-labels to be fundamentally different from those in other sectors such as wood or palm oil, where eco-labels remain private market-based instruments.

The report will now be debated by the European Parliament and the Council.

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