Success for third FEAP aquaculture event

‘AQUACULTURE in Motion’, the third edition of FEAP’s annual European aquaculture event, was held in the Committee of the Regions, Brussels, on 1 December 2014.
This year’s event ‘Aquaculture focused on ‘Confidence in Culture’ and was co-organised with FEFAC, the European Feed Manufacturers’ Federation. Over 90 participants from 18 different European countries attended this important event.
To satisfy consumer and society’s expectations of European aquaculture, the sector knows that it must provide confidence in the professional activity and its products, adapting to change and investing in new tools for production, management and innovation.
The meeting was opened by Mathieu Bergé, responsible for aquaculture in the Aquitaine Region, the FEAP President, Arnault Chaperon and Niels Alsted, chair of FEFAC’s fish feed committee.
Lowri Evans, Director General of DG Mare, made a keynote introduction, highlighting that the EU will continue to do all it can towards putting the framework in place to provide the business conditions and the support that will encourage growth and jobs in European aquaculture.
The first presentation by Arnault Chaperon explained the links between image-confidence-market – focusing on the importance of transparent communication on the good and healthy products European aquaculture is producing.
More perspectives were given by Véronique Ehanno who showed examples of the French approach, the need for positive messages and the use of new media channels.
The second session dealt with the different conditions of confidence in European Aquaculture: confidence in Product safety, in feed safety, in environmental issues and in welfare.
Catherine McManus from Marine Harvest presented the numerous safety measures that are used in the farming of salmon, while Dr Wolfgang Trunk from DG SANCO outlined the EU regulations regarding aquaculture feeds, their simplification and achieving a sound safety level by focusing on transparency, efficiency and truthfulness of labelling.
Neil Auchterlonie of CEFAS (UK) showed that confidence in environmental issues is gained from a combination of a legislative framework, a science-supported evidence base and a voluntary approach by the industry.
Finally, Nancy De Briyne from the Federation of European veterinarians explained the main welfare issues and the challenges of measuring and monitoring welfare.
The third session handled the positive approach to addressing the previous issues covered. Niels Alsted discussed the ongoing developments within the fish feed industry and the challenges that still need tackling, notably on ingredients.
Javier Ojeda from Apromar (Spain) provided a farmer’s perspective on certification and responding to the consumer’s choices.
Nikos Zampoukas from DG RESEARCH explained the EU research programmes related to aquaculture, giving specific examples, and Lara Barazi from Kefalonian Fisheries (Greece) noted the lack of systematic market studies and consumer surveys and the role of the EU in communicating its positive values and principles.
Finally, Gilles Doignon of DG MARE stressed on the importance of positive communication demonstrated by the aquaculture promotional campaign of the EU ‘Farmed in the EU’.
Richie Flynn, IFA, closed the meeting by stressing that sustainability is the driver and, increasingly, the selling point of the EU aquaculture industry and its products.
This conference has shown how the aquaculture sector has become self-aware, responsible and educated but that the legislators need to recognise this and take the measures necessary, notably on simplification, to allow growth to happen.