After more than a decade of stagnation, EU aquaculture is finally showing signs of recovery. With 4% growth in volume and 8% in value between 2014 and 2015, and profits exceeding 400 million euro, the sector is generating more value than ever before.
The success is in part due to strong cooperation over the last years between the European Commission and national authorities to remove barriers to growth. As a result, many governments have been taking steps to cut red tape, which clearly has been paying off.
At #FARMEDintheEU Regions, a conference organized by the European Commission and the Committee of the Regions showcasing some of the success stories of European aquaculture, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, today stressed the need for even greater buy-in from the EU regions.
“Aquaculture can deliver local food and local jobs in an environment-friendly way. The planning, authorisation, and ultimately the success of aquaculture in the EU lie in the hands of our regions and Member States. We count on you to support investment in this promising industry", Commissioner Vella said.
With global population expected to reach 10 billion people by 2050, Commissioner Vella sees aquaculture as a key pillar of global and European food security. "We need to plan ahead now to provide more fish, shellfish and algae in a sustainable, responsible way", Commissioner Vella said. "Of course we must continue our work on sustainable wild fisheries, but if we are to get more seafood, it has to come from farming. Having many small, well-planned farming actions at regional scale, and helping consumers to make informed, responsible choices is the key to success."
EU policy supporting aquaculture
As a form of concrete support to regions, the Commission unveiled at the Conference a series of new guidelines on the accommodation of aquaculture within the EU environmental rules, as well as information on planning and business authorisation. These tools, which decision-makers in national, regional and local authorities should find very useful, are available in all EU languages.
The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund provides 1.2 billion euro exclusively for aquaculture. This money is there to help farms invest, grow, become more innovative and efficient, and also to help attract more private investment. If investments gather pace and the conditions continue to be supportive of the sector, we could see the 25% growth by 2020 that Member States had aimed for when developing their aquaculture plans in 2014.
The European Commission is ready to collaborate with national and regional authorities to implement the "FARMED in the EU" communication campaign, helping aquaculture professionals to explain their job to schools across Europe.
- Publication date
- 2 February 2018
- Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries