Aquaculture: Commissioner Damanaki meets Ministers from five land-locked Member States to discuss the future of freshwater aquaculture
Maria Damanaki, Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, received on Monday a visit of the Ministers for Agriculture of the Czech Republic Ivan Fuksa, Hungary Sandor Fazekas, Slovakia Zsolt Simon, Austria Nikolaus Berlakivich as well as the Director for international affairs of Luxembourg Frank Schmidt.
The ministerial delegation handed to Commissioner Damanaki a "Joint Declaration on the future role of freshwater aquaculture and inland fishery within the CFP Reform." The two parties exchanged views about the prospects of freshwater aquaculture and its contribution to supplying high quality and healthy fisheries products to consumers, to providing economic growth and jobs to rural areas and to preserving the environment and the variety of biodiversity and species. They agreed that freshwater aquaculture should be given priority in the context of the future Common Fisheries Policy and its financing instruments.
The land-locked countries have significant water surfaces and river network. They have a long tradition in inland aquaculture (lakes, ponds, rivers) which they also use for non-productive functions like flood prevention, water retention, landscaping and rural development. They produce together around 40.000 tones of fish (3% of the EU production). They receive from the European Fisheries Fund a financial assistance of EUR 81 million for the period 2007-13.
In accepting the Joint Declaration, Commissioner Damanaki expressed support for their initiative and indicated that the promotion of aquaculture, including inland aquaculture, will be addressed as a priority during the forthcoming reform of the Common Fisheries Policy and of the proposal of a new financial instrument for maritime and fisheries policy covering the period post-2013. Her plan to support and promote a sustainable and competitive fish-farming sector relies on two broad premises. First, by facilitating the investment opportunities that will allow the sector to grow within the EU. This will include a serious effort to reduce administrative obstacles as well as to promote permitting and spatial planning taking into account environmental constraints. Secondly, by placing special emphasis on the funding of aquaculture within the framework of the European Fisheries Fund and its successor post-2013. Finally, particular efforts will be have to be made for the promotion of organic aquaculture.
Commissioner Damanaki and the ministerial delegation agreed to be in close contacts over the coming months in order to put in place the conditions that will enable a better up-take of freshwater aquaculture.
From left to right: Frank Schmidt, Nikolaus Berlakovich, Ivan Fuksa, Maria Damanaki, Zsolt Simon et Sándor Fazekas