Commissioner Damanaki's message to the participants of the conference Aquaculture Europe 2011
Dear participants, αγαπητοί σύνεδροι,
Thank you for inviting me to open this year's edition of Aquaculture Europe.
Unfortunately, previous engagements did not allow me to be present at such an important conference.
I would like however to take the opportunity to convey the European Commission's message of support to the European aquaculture sector.
Aquaculture has a brilliant future in Europe.
It can be our answer to the problem of food security and to the problem of overfishing. And it has a unique potential for growth and jobs creation in coastal and rural areas.
In our recent proposal to reform of the Common Fisheries Policy, we give aquaculture the central role it deserves.
We want to support aquaculture strategically. For this reason, we ask Member States to draw up multiannual national strategic plans with quantified targets: innovation, sustainability and administrative simplification should be keywords in this context.
We also wish to modernise the Common Market Organisation for farmed products and to make producers' organisations more effective. This is one manner to help set up new companies and help existing ones to expand locally and internationally.
Proper labelling is a component of this effort. Information is essential for the consumers who want to make a sustainable choice and for the retailers who want to offer it. And voluntary labelling should cover a range of claims, from methods of production to environmental, ethical and nutritional aspects.
The future financial support of aquaculture is also important.
We have designed our new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund to go in this direction. It will be adopted by the Commission at the end of November.
Finally, we must support the innovation that characterises our Mediterranean aquaculture.
With my fellow Commissioner for Research, Màire Geoghegan-Quinn, we intend to ensure that aquaculture research can continue to benefit from strong support within the next framework programme for research and innovation.
Ladies and gentlemen, Κυρίες και κύριοι,
I'd like to leave you with one message to bring with you during the next few days.
The challenge we face in the European Union today is that of sustainability – environmental, social and economic sustainability. But it is also an opportunity. Sustainability will make the aquaculture industry healthy and profitable. We need to ensure an optimal cooperation between the industry, national authorities and the Commission to address this challenge.
It is up to us to turn this challenge into an opportunity for our economy and for our citizens.
I wish you every success.