2007 will be important year for aquaculture, says Commissioner Published: 07 December, 2006
NEW trends and recent developments in fish farming, such as offshore aquaculture or links with other sea-based activities, must be incorporated into the European Communitys strategy on the sustainable development of aquaculture, EU Fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg has said.
Speaking at the Plenary meeting of the Advisory Committee on Fisheries and Maritime Affairs (ACFA) held in Brussels today, Dr Borg said these issues will be addressed when the strategy comes up for review next year.
Discussing recent developments in the industry he said: On aquaculture, we are well advanced on the road to having Community rules for alien species in aquaculture. This was one of the items highlighted in the 2002 Communication on sustainable development of aquaculture and is currently under discussion at working party level in the Council. If not finalised this year, we expect it to be approved during the German Presidency. Aquaculture products and seaweeds are also included in the new Community rules on organic production and labelling and while we expect this Council Regulation to be finalised before the end of the month (to apply from 2009), DG FISH will start work on detailed implementing rules for aquaculture products and seaweeds next year.
In addition, our proposed directive on animal health requirements for aquaculture and prevention and control of certain diseases was adopted by the Council in October. This new directive updates, recasts and consolidates three former directives in relation to the trade in aquaculture products, including disease prevention and control, in order to improve the competitiveness of EU aquaculture producers. It will better reflect the EU aquaculture industry in the 21st century, simplify and modernise existing rules to provide more flexibility, and delegate more operational responsibility to Member States. It will eventually ensure both a better protection of consumers and a better environment for the producers.
Another important event for aquaculture in 2007 is, he said, the elaboration of concrete proposals regarding an EU maritime policy. Dr Borg said the aquaculture industry is treated as an equal partner to other maritime activities and it is crucial that the aquaculture industry submits a strong contribution to the Green Paper on the EU Maritime Policy.
Finally, 2007 will be the year when the European Fisheries Fund and the 7th Research Framework Programme will start. These two programmes are instrumental for the sustainable development of aquaculture and we must work together to make the best use of them, he concluded.
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