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CFP Reform Will Help EU Aquaculture Expand Globally

Sustainability Politics +2 more

UK and EU - In a speech marking the start of a major UK aquaculture stakeholder conference in Brussels, Struan Stevenson MEP, Senior Vice President of the European Parliaments Fisheries Committee, has argued that the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) will boost opportunities for UK fish farmers to grow exports to developing markets.

Opening the UK Aquaculture Forum, hosted by Marine Scotland at Scotland House in Brussels, Mr Stevenson said that the EU aquaculture industry has already adapted significantly over the past three years to stop haemorrhaging jobs and relying on imported seafood from outside the EU, but that much work remained to be done.

He told the Forum that, while challenges in the form of overly obtrusive red tape and regulation still remain, the industry has the capacity to grow yet further with a common approach to aquaculture development within the EU.

He also told delegates to the forum that the Scottish aquaculture sector must not miss the opportunity to ensure that the EU's first Aquaculture Advisory Council is headquartered in Scotland.

Speaking from Brussels, Struan Stevenson said: At a time when demand for healthy fish products is rising internationally, while marine fish stocks continue to decline, the opportunities for EU aquaculture are boundless."

But if European aquaculture is going to contribute strongly to the consumption demands from our 500 million citizens, never mind the huge opportunities of overseas markets, the sector still has work to do. It will have to grow between 2.3 and 7.5 fold by 2025.

Mr Stevenson added: The European Parliaments Fisheries Committee is now embarking on the decisive and highly-charged debate on CFP Reform. Aquaculture plays a significant role in the European Commissions published draft regulations, reflecting Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki's determination to regain ground that was lost in this sector due to over-regulation and red tape in the past."

The entire UK aquaculture sector needs to ensure that it responds to the opportunities that CFP reform presents. In particular, with the Commission calling for the creation of an Advisory Council for Aquaculture, Scotlands industry stakeholders must step up to grasp the very real opportunity of ensuring it is headquartered in Scotland, so that Scotlands expertise drives growth across the EU.