Fisheries

Consumer information

Consumer information

Consumer information

A pocket guide to the EU's new fish and aquaculture consumer labels 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:

  • the commercial and scientific name of the species
  • whether the product was caught at sea or in freshwater, or farmed
  • the catch or production area and the type of fishing gear used to catch the product
  • whether the product has been defrosted and  the date of minimum durability (also known as the ‘best before’ or ‘use by’ date), in line with general food labelling rules

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:

  • For fish caught at sea:
  • For freshwater fish: the body of water and the EU country of origin or the non-EU country of provenance
  • For farmed fish: EU or non-EU country of final rearing period

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.

Eco-label

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.

Related documents

Report from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on options for an EU eco-label scheme for fishery and aquaculture products (COM/2016/0263)

Feasibility Report on options for an EU ecolabel scheme for fishery and aquaculture products

A pocket guide to the EU's new fish and aquaculture consumer labels

EU consumer habits regarding fishery and aquaculture products