Fish farming in "doldrums" –

Fish farming in “doldrums” Published:  10 October, 2007

FISH farming in Scotland and in Europe is in the doldrums, languishing behind international competitors and haemorrhaging jobs to countries outside the EU according to Scottish MEP Struan Stevenson.

Red tape and endless directives are pushing the industry towards more lucrative markets in China, Japan and Vietnam, he contended.

Speaking at a major conference entitled “Developing European Agriculture” in Brussels yesterday Mr Stevenson a Conservative MEP for Scotland,Vice President of the ruling EPP-ED Group in the European Parliament and a former President of the Fisheries Committee in the European Parliament, said:

“At a time when demand for healthy fish products is rising internationally, while marine fish stocks continue to fall, the opportunities for EU aquaculture are manifold. Europe used to lead the world in fish farming innovation and technological development. But our conference heard yesterday how EU fish-farmers now have to deal with 10 separate EU agencies and 400 European directives, not to mention planning and environmental constraints in the member states, before they can reel a single fish.

“We have tied our once dynamic aquaculture sector in knots with red-tape, allowing countries like Vietnam, China, Japan and Chile to power ahead, seizing market share and stealing jobs from Europe.”

And they needed more flexibility in licensing of medicines and in the planning and siting of new fish farms.

“Our farmed fish are produced to the highest standards of any fish-farms in the world and we will not do anything to undermine that. However we must simplify the regulatory regime and free-up Europe’s fish farmers to reclaim their rightful place as world leaders in this exciting industry which provides more than 65, 000 full time jobs in the EU, often in remote and peripheral coastal areas.

“The steady decline of output in the Scottish farmed salmon sector is an obvious symptom of the overall European malaise.” is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.