SEAT interns to join Scots MEP for Brussels aquaculture insights – Fishfarmer Magazine

SEAT interns to join Scots MEP for Brussels aquaculture insights16 April, 2012 – Struan Stevenson MEP

A Scots Euro MP is to be work-shadowed at the European Parliament in Brussels by two interns from the Sustainable Ethical Aquaculture Trade (SEAT) Project,  funded under the EU-FP7 research programme.

The interns, Douglas Waley and Thao Van Nguyen, will undertake a week’s visit, commencing Monday 23 April, as part of their work with SEAT, which is coordinated by the Institute of Aquaculture at the University of Stirling to study enhancing the trade of farmed aquatic products between Asia and Europe.

As well as gaining first-hand insights from key EU policy-makers and industry stakeholders at forums such as the European Parliament Fisheries Committee, the students will aim to gauge the impact of a visit by the Vietnamese Deputy Fisheries Minister to the Brussels European Sea Food Exhibition – the biggest seafood show in the world. The interns will also be involved in developing relationships with European Small & Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) before and after the show, to assist on-going action research with the SEAT project.

Struan Stevenson MEP, who is facilitating the visit, commented: “I am delighted to be hosting Douglas and Thao Van so that they will have the opportunity to see first-hand some of the work being done here in Brussels to reform the market of aquaculture products as part of the on-going reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.

“The EU is a growing market for Asian farmed seafood, with China alone contributing two thirds of global aquaculture products.  This means that the EU imports some 1.65 million tonnes of farmed seafood products annually and the SEAT Project’s work is vital in ensuring that this trade happens in the most sustainable way.

“On a recent visit to Vietnam I saw at first hand the impressive scale and ambition of Asian efforts to export cheap, sustainable products like pangasius fish for European consumption. I am confident that we are perfectly capable of matching such efforts here in the EU by understanding best-practice, reducing unnecessary red tape and encouraging the sustainable growth of EU seafood producers, especially among small businesses.

“I also want to see EU business cashing in on the rich export potential to supply the burgeoning Asian fish-farming sector with technical equipment and intellectual property. Aquaculture is a two-way street and we need to ensure it operates to our mutual advantage.”

The SEAT Project’s Principal Investigator Prof Dave Little said: “This is a great opportunity for SEAT to facilitate further communication between Europe and Asia; our Asian Intern is living and studying in Europe and our European intern is living and working in Asia. Their experiences of shadowing Struan Stevenson and observing activities in Brussels during the most fishy week of the year will be valuable for them personally and the project as a whole.”

Stirling University’s Institute of Aquaculture is internationally recognised as one of the leading centres for research and academic training in aquaculture and fisheries science, with currently over 100 staff specialized in all facets of aquaculture research and development.

Sustainable Ethical Aquaculture Trade (SEAT) is a large‐scale research project, aiming to strengthen  the sustainability of the EU‐Asia seafood trade. The project is providing the evidence required to support the trade, and informing its sustainable expansion.