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INSEPARABLE - Eat, Buy and Sell Sustainable FishINSEPARABLE - Eat, Buy and Sell Sustainable FishINSEPARABLE - Eat, Buy and Sell Sustainable FishINSEPARABLE - Eat, Buy and Sell Sustainable Fish

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In response to the concerns raised by several citizens about animal welfare in fish farming, the European Commission would like to clarify that the health and welfare of farmed fish is important for EU aquaculture.
One of the world's fastest growing food sectors, aquaculture accounts for about half of the fish eaten worldwide every year.
Fish farming is healthy and can help tackle overfishing and protect wild fish stocks. That is the message to be delivered today by European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, at a specially organised event at the Seafood Expo Global held in Brussels.

Citizens' summary

Commission strategy – sustainable aquaculture in Europe

What's the issue?

  • Aquaculture is the farming of organisms that live in water, such as fish, shellfish and algae. It is expanding in many parts of the world but EU production has remained stagnant since 2000.
  • Measures to develop aquaculture must be sustainable, environmentally, socially and economically.
  • The European sector has important assets and good prospects despite challenges to its development.

Who will benefit and how?

  • Aquaculture and related industries – the strategy will help create economic opportunities, mainly in rural and coastal areas.
  • EU consumers – a sustainable aquaculture sector will provide healthy, high-quality and environmentally friendly food.

Why does action have to be taken by the eu?

  • European leadership can help move national and regional authorities to act.
  • With its overview of the whole European aquaculture sector, the EU is best placed to identify overall opportunities and challenges.

What exactly will change?

The strategy aims to:

  • help make EU aquaculture more competitive – by supporting research and technological development, ensuring that the sector has an equal voice in spatial-planning decisions, revising EU policy on fisheries markets and helping the sector strengthen its position on the international scene.
  • ensure that growth remains sustainable – by encouraging green production methods, maintaining high animal-health and welfare standards, protecting consumer health and publicising the health benefits of aquaculture products.
  • improve the sector's image and governance – by creating a level playing field for all operators and reducing red tape, as well as encouraging the dissemination of factual information to the public, the involvement of stakeholders in policy-making and adequate monitoring of the sector.

All these goals should be achieved by EU, national and regional bodies working together.

When would the strategy come into effect?

  • The Commission will gradually implement the measures under its authority. It invites national and regional authorities to coordinate the measures for which each of them is responsible.