Entry into force of new EU-wide rules on organic aquaculture
On 1 July, new rules covering organic aquaculture production of fish, shellfish and seaweed enter into force. The rules set EU-wide conditions for the aquatic production environment, for impacts on other species, the separation of organic and non-organic units and specify animal welfare conditions including maximum stocking densities.
The rules specify that biodiversity should be respected, and do not allow the use of induced spawning by artificial hormones. Organic feeds should be used supplemented by fish feeds derived from sustainably managed fisheries. Special provisions are made for bivalve mollusc production and for seaweed.
Commenting on the new rules, Maritime Affairs & Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki said: "Europe-wide rules for organic aquacalture have become a reality. They will give consumers a better choice and are a boost for sound and environmentally acceptable production and a viable alternative to the more traditional intensive approach. The EU is the biggest market in the world for seafood and it is fitting that Europe should play a leading role in establishing comprehensive rules in this domain. Among the priorities for my term are sustainability and social cohesion for the fishing and aquaculture sectors. These new rules for organic aquaculture are a milestone by integrating these priorities into aquaculture".
In 2008 an estimated 123 certified organic aquaculture operations were in operation in Europe, out of a total of 225 such farms worldwide. These accounted for almost half world production of 50,000 tonnes in 2008. The top five Member States in production terms are the UK, Ireland, Hungary, Greece and France. The top species is salmon.