• Exploring measures needed to further promote European aquaculture
• Reducing the administrative burden without compromising the protection of the environment
• Reviewing challenges for European aquaculture in short-term and mid-term perspective
• Improving competitiveness of European aquaculture
• Review possibilities to boost research and development in the sector
The opinion on The future of European aquaculture (Rapporteur Jesus GAMALLO ALLER (ES/EPP) recommends promoting the local market and short circuit distribution chains for European aquaculture products, and urges the European Commission to introduce a labelling system for aquaculture products, which will distinguish European products, instil confidence in consumers, enhance products' quality image and set them apart from competitor products.
The European Commission introduced certain promotional and labeling measures in 2015, followed in 2016 by the #FARMEDintheEU aquaculture campaign, which was particularly successful in Spain. Spanish authorities, producer organisations and research institutes are organising open door visits and conferences across Spain today to celebrate the annual "Día de la Acuicultura". This year, the European Commission joined in the celebrations, supporting the "Di sí a la acuicultura sostenible" ("Say yes to sustainable aquaculture") competition launched by the Observatorio Español de Acuicultura from Fundación Biodiversidad (Mapama).
As part of the campaign, the "FARMED in the EU" schoolkit developed by the European Commission was promoted to hundreds of schools across the country. To date, more than 1700 Spanish pupils from 37 schools and 27 aquaculture experts (producers, scientists, officials) have been involved in 62 workshops under the label #CRIADOenlaUE. The campaign, which started in September, will continue until May.
Under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), funding worth €206m will go to more than 850 aquaculture projects in Spain. The Spanish multiannual plan for the development of sustainable aquaculture aims to increase Spain's production volume by 20% by 2020, and its value by 26%.
The European Committee of the Regions
- recognises that the aquaculture sector generates jobs, particularly in structurally weak areas, helping to create greater territorial cohesion and rural development which is in line with the growth targets set out in the Europe 2020 strategy;
- with regard to the administrative system, suggests the use of a "one-stop shop" and establishing a simplified, or "fast-track", licensing system;
- urges the Commission to introduce a labelling system for aquaculture products, which will distinguish European products, instil confidence in consumers, enhance products' quality image and set them apart from competitor products;
- points out that, under current circumstances, it does not make sense to set extractive fishing and aquaculture in opposition to one another, emphasising the need for complementarity;
- recommends promoting the local market and short circuit distribution chains for European aquaculture products, thus helping to cushion the effect of fluctuations on the global markets.