Aquaculture in Motion, the second edition of the Federation of European Aquaculture Producer (FEAP)’s annual European aquaculture event, was organized by FEAP in Brussels, November 6, 2013
This year’s Aquaculture in Motion took a close look at the Strategic Guidelines for the Sustainable Development of European Aquaculture that was published by the European Commission in April 2013. These guidelines aim to assist the EU Member States to define national targets while taking account of their individual circumstances, institutional arrangements and relative positions in terms of aquaculture activities and their development.
Four priority areas were identified for attention:
Simplification of administrative procedures for operating licences for aquaculture enterprises;
Application of coordinated spatial planning for sustainable development and growth;
Enhancing the competitiveness of EU aquaculture;
Promoting a level playing field for EU operators.
Specific targets for each priority area weren identified in the guidelines for EU Member States, the European Commission and for the new Aquaculture Advisory Council, proposed within the reformed Common Fisheries Policy. These targets are to be integrated into the multi-annual plans foreseen.
More than 100 participants from 20 different European countries attended this important event. The meeting was opened by the FEAP President, Mr Arnault Chaperon, who said that, after years of debate on European aquaculture, it is now time to move forward, answer questions, develop solutions and take decisions.
Examples of how national authorities are addressing the preparation of the multi-annual plans were given by
1. France: A joint presentation by Mrs. Yvette White, representing the French aquaculture producers and Mr. Nadou Cadic, presently in charge of the development of the French strategic plans.
2. Hungary: Mr. Tamás Bardócz, head of the department of Forestry, Fishery and Hunting in the Hungarian Ministry of Rural Development and responsible for all fisheries and aquaculture related national strategies.
3. Spain: Mr. Javier Remiro Perlado, managing director of OESA (Spanish Aquaculture Observatory), and managing the development of the strategic plan for the Spanish aquaculture sector.
4. Germany: Mr. Bernhard Feneis, President of the Association of German freshwater fishermen and fish producers, working closely with the German policy makers.
After the presentations, a lively and open debate drew feedback from the audience, including policy makers, producers and interest groups.
FEAP representatives also presented their positions on how they see the professional aquaculture sector structuring for implementation of the guidelines and multi-annual plans, relating to:
Indicators for a level playing field for European producers;
Research needs for enhanced competitiveness of the sector;
Progress on the creation of the Aquaculture Advisory Council.
In conclusion, Mr. Richie Flynn elaborated on the key performance indicators of progress; these need to be clearly defined and measurable, allowing the success of national plans to be followed and make European aquaculture a visible success. The goal for Europe should be sustainable self-sufficiency in seafood, creating jobs, coastal and rural economic prosperity and providing a guarantee of food quality and safety for the European consumer.
FEAP presented its recommendations on how to move European Aquaculture forward. To achieve a recognised sustainable European aquaculture sector, each player has to assume its responsibilities and at different levels - European, national, the producer, the researcher and NGOs. Even though national plans are the responsibility of each Member State, Europe should remain responsible for assuring the level playing field, clear and accurate information for the consumers, communication and promotion of EU aquaculture products, the promotion of producer and inter-branch organisations and improving research and development for the industry. Success in these aspects will support and enhance progress, through the increased competitiveness of a sustainable aquaculture sector.
The conclusion was that it is time to have concrete actions if we want our future generations to be able to eat healthy European fish.