The Common Organisation of the Markets establishes the specific information that must accompany fishery and aquaculture products sold to consumers and mass caterers. These requirements complement the general EU rules on the provision of food information to consumers, and contribute to more transparency on the market as they enable consumers to make informed choices on the products they buy.
The new rules have become applicable on 13 December 2014. To accompany the sector in the application of these new requirements, the Commission has published a pocket guide to the EU's new fish and aquaculture consumer labels.
Under the new rules, applicable to fish, molluscs, crustaceans and algae, products sold to consumers or mass caterers must bear the following information:
To allow consumers to have a better understanding of where the product comes from, the information on the catch or production area must be provided in detail:
Products may also be accompanied by additional voluntary information, such as the date of catch or landing, information on environmental, social or ethical matters, production techniques and nutritional content.
Over the past 20 years, eco-label schemes have emerged on the EU market, a development linked to increased public awareness of the need to ensure sustainable exploitation of marine resources. Today, the EU is the main market for certified products.
On 18 May 2016 the European Commission adopted a report on the feasibility of an EU ecolabel scheme for fishery and aquaculture products. The report will now be debated by the European Parliament and the Council.