Marketing of fishery and aquaculture products
Common marketing standards
Common marketing standards lay down uniform characteristics for certain fishery products sold in the EU, whatever their origin. They help ensure a transparent internal market that functions smoothly and supplies high-quality products.
The marketing standards specify freshness and size categories for fresh products. These are applied in accordance with conservation measures, in particular minimum biological sizes. The standards also specify trade descriptions and presentations of canned sardines, bonito and tuna.
Fishery and aquaculture products, seaweeds and algae sold to end consumers or caterers must bear the following information:
- the species' commercial and scientific names
- whether the products were caught at sea or in freshwater, or farmed
- the catch or production area:
- fish caught at sea: the FAO sub-area or division (NE Atlantic, Mediterranean and Black Sea) or the FAO area (other waters)
- freshwater fish: the body of water in the EU country or non-EU country of origin
- farmed fish: EU or non-EU country of final rearing period.
- the fishing gear used.
The Common Organisation of the Markets is also consistent with general food labelling rules on defrosted products and the 'best by' date (known as the date of minimum durability).
In addition to mandatory information, operators can provide voluntary information regarding the date of catch or landing, environmental matters, production techniques and so on. The Commission will examine whether it would be feasible to set up an EU eco-label scheme or set minimum requirements.
To address the current lack of economic knowledge of fish markets, the Commission has set up the European Market Observatory for Fishery and Aquaculture Products. Through its work the Observatory will contribute to market transparency and efficiency. It will analyse EU market dynamics and support business and policy decisions.
On the dedicated website the Observatory provides data on the volume and value of fisheries and aquaculture products from the first sale to the retail stage, including imports and exports. These data are collected from EU countries, Norway and Iceland, and from EU institutions. They are updated every day.