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EU Stats on Aquaculture to be Improved

by Ellen Hardy
1 February 2008, at 12:00am

MEPs have adopted a co-decision report on a proposal aiming to replace the current Community legislation on the submission by Member States of statistics on aquaculture production, which has been in force for more than ten years.

The rapporteur, backed by 599 votes in favour, 9 against and 17 abstentions supports the Commission’s proposal, suggesting some amendments to improve the clarity and coherence of the text. It also takes account of the problems faced by some Member States and makes provision for information and regular updates for the European Parliament and the Council concerning the application of the legislation.

Mr Morillon considers that the changes introduced should enable the submission of annual data on the volume of aquaculture production to be improved, and that they will improve the accessibility of the requisite information.

According to the European Parliament this regulation should allow for a transitional period of up to three years, granted to Member States where an application to their national statistical systems would require major adaptations. Such action is likely to cause significant practical problems.

MEPs also add that within three years of this regulation coming into force, and every three years thereafter, the Commission shall submit an "evaluation report" to the EP and to the Council on the statistics compiled and, in particular, on their relevance and quality. This report should undertake a "cost-effectiveness analysis of the system introduced to collect and draw up the statistics" and indicate best practices to lessen the workload for Member States and enhance the usefulness and quality of the data.

Context

The Community legislation on statistics on aquaculture has been in force for more than ten years. It provides for Member States to submit annual data on the volume of aquaculture production to the Commission. Since Regulation (EC) 788/96 was approved, there has been a considerable increase in aquaculture.

"The current situation in the sector plays an important socio-economic role in several European regions by enabling the development of a processing industry with a promising future", says the rapporteur. "The need for a broader range of data has, therefore, become an urgent one, if there is to be rational development and management within the Common Fisheries Policy".

The need for wide-scale collection of statistical data on aquaculture stems from the importance of having an accurate and comprehensive overview of aquaculture businesses, their cultivation techniques and the different production environments, adds Philippe MORILLON.

The aquaculture sector in numbers

The EU’s aquaculture sector totals 1.3 million tons of fisheries products per year, representing some 3 billion euros. This corresponds to around one third of the total value of production in the EU’s fisheries sector and roughly one fifth of its volume. In some Member States the value of farmed products is higher than that of products landed. In others, aquaculture represents a significant proportion of total production. In Greece, for example, 100 000 of every 200 000 tons of fish are produced by aquaculture.

As well as encompassing important sources of products for European consumers, the aquaculture sector is also a substantial source of employment in regions dependent on fishing. European aquaculture provides more than 80 000 full and part-time jobs, which is the equivalent of 57 000 full-time jobs.

Ellen Hardy