EU commitment to aquaculture08 May, 2014 –
EU COMMISSIONER for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Maria Damanaki, outlined a commitment to increase the percentage of seafood farmed within the European Union at the Seafood Expo Global in Brussels yesterday.
Damanki was joined by top chefs Gianfranco Vissani, holder of two Michelin stars for his restaurant Vissani and Kevin MacGillivray, former President of the Federation of Scottish Chefs and himself a two AA rosette winner for his restaurant at the Ballathie House Hotel, Perthshire.
In her speech, Damanaki emphasised the ‘healthy, fresh and local alternative’ that fish and shellfish farmed in the EU offered, before outlining a range of projects and potential funding avenues to develop aquaculture in the region.
‘The growing demand, especially for Omega 3 rich fish, cannot be met by simply fishing more out of the sea,’ she said. ‘There are simply not enough fish out there and our fish stocks are still reeling from years of overfishing.
‘Sustainably farmed fish can alleviate this pressure. Sustainable farming means producing while ensuring that our waters stay clean, our ecosystems rich and healthy and that consumer protection and social rules are respected.
‘Future generations have the same right as we have to enjoy our seas, rivers and lakes. Young people should be also given credible expectations to find jobs in thriving companies selling tasty products.
‘Only 10% of EU consumption is also farmed in the EU. Much of the imported seafood travels long distances from remote places around the world to reach our tables.
‘Fish farmed in the EU represents an excellent local, sustainable alternative. Initiatives like the Italian “Chilometro Zero” are also based on this very same logic. We want to spread this message of the quality of our EU products.
‘This fresh farmed fish meets not only our high consumer protection requirements, but also the quality standards in taste and texture demanded by “top chefs”, like Mr Vissani and Mr MacGillivray.’
Damanaki then went on to discuss a range of EU-funded projects that will promote aquaculture in schools across Europe later in the year, as well as discussing a possible 1 billion-Euro package of funding through the new European Maritime and Fisheries Fund for sustainable aquaculture projects.