Aquaculture, the farming of finfish, shellfish and aquatic plants, is one of the world’s fastest growing food sectors and already represents around 40% of total fish production. In Europe, it accounts for about 20% of fish production and directly employs approximately 80 000 people. EU aquaculture is renowned for its high quality, sustainability and consumer protection standards. Despite this quality stamp, competition is rife, particularly from Asia, which accounts for around 88% of global production. The CoR opinion therefore includes a proposal for a labelling system for aquaculture products, which “will distinguish European products, instil confidence in consumers, enhance products’ quality image and set them apart from competitor products”. Another major obstacle to the development of aquaculture in Europe is linked to the complex and lengthy procedures involved in obtaining operating licences and permits. Given that, in Europe, it is generally the responsibility of regional and local authorities to grant licences and support small and medium-sized enterprises operating in their area, the rapporteur suggests better training for public officials. Gamallo also proposes a “one-stop shop”, which would make it possible for all documents to be submitted to a single administrative body. Lastly, he underlines the need to establish a proper definition of “sustainable aquaculture” given that this is the first condition imposed by the 2014-2020 Common Fisheries Policy.

 

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