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Commission welcomes Council adoption of new rules on the health of farmed fish

by 5m Editor
27 October 2006, at 1:00am

EU - Markos Kyprianou, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, has welcomed the adoption of a new Directive on the health of farmed fish and shellfish and disease control in the aquaculture sector, at the Agriculture Council today.

The Directive, which was proposed by the Commission last year, (see IP/05/1062) aims to improve the health of aquaculture animals in the EU by upgrading the current legislation and introducing a series of new measures, including more emphasis on disease prevention at each point in the production chain. In setting down clear-cut and harmonised EU rules, the new legislation should also help to boost competitiveness in the EU aquaculture sector, which has a production value of some 2.6 billion a year, and facilitate increased trade in fishery products.

Markos Kyprianou, Commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection, said: I am very pleased that Member States have given such strong backing to this Directive, which has also been received input from the European Parliament and a wide spectrum of stakeholders. The new legislation will help to shape the future of Europes aquaculture sector, which is worth millions of euros each year. It will also ensure that consumers can remain confident in the safety and wholesomeness of seafood farmed in the EU.

Greater disease prevention

The new Council Directive responds to the need to update current animal health legislation for farmed fish and shellfish, taking into account developments in the aquaculture sector, as well as international experience and scientific knowledge. A major aim of the proposal is to provide for better disease prevention by applying stronger controls throughout the production chain. Pre-empting and preventing diseases, rather than just treating them when they occur, should reduce economic losses and minimise restrictions on trade. The Directive also seeks to ensure that disease-free fish farms are protected from the introduction of pathogens, and that no new diseases affecting aquaculture animals enter the EU.

More flexible approach

Greater flexibility in the application of EU rules on the health of aquaculture animals is provided through the Directive agreed today. While the new legislation sets firm required standards when it comes to the health of farmed fish and shellfish, there is no fixed approach laid down for achieving these standards. This allows for the possibility of local or regional approaches to be taken in preventing and containing diseases, while Member States will be responsible for ensuring proper implementation and controls. National control and eradication plans for aquatic diseases will have to be drawn up, as will contingency plans for possible disease outbreaks.

Financial assistance

The Directive adopted will enable financial contributions from the European Fisheries Fund to be made for the eradication of aquaculture disease. This funding will support Member States and aquaculture operators when they need to implement compulsory disease eradication measures, which can range from culling stock to movement bans to long-term programmes to eliminate a less threatening disease.

For more information, see: http://ec.europa.eu/food/animal/liveanimals/aquaculture/index_en.htm

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5m Editor