"We want to be able to offer high-quality, healthy and affordable products to European citizens whilst also addressing and contributing to the protection of over-fished species."
The need for simplifying administrative procedures was central to the message of Councillor Marialuisa Coppola during the unanimous adoption of her opinion at NAT today.
"The daunting two-to-three year procedure to establish a new aquaculture farm puts many potential entrepreneurs off and sets the EU collectively at a disadvantage compared with its global competitors."
She calls for a "blue revolution" whereby sustainable fish farming methods are developed through pioneering technology and innovation.
"We need to do as much as possible to promote the application of European environmental legislation without imposing unnecessary burdens on operators in the production chain or the many SMEs that are involved. In this respect, the know-how of the producers themselves and of local and regional authorities could prove decisive in the context of the Aquaculture Advisory Council," she added.
According to the rapporteur, local and regional authorities can also play an important role in promoting market-oriented research, innovation and knowledge transfer and in enabling Member States to seek and secure synergies between the various national research programmes. Additionally, they can help to promote the sustainable development of aquaculture through information programmes in schools and by promoting the consumption of local and seasonal products.
Based on these guidelines, Member States will draw up multiannual national strategic plans taking into account each country’s conditions, problems and potential. In this context, the rapporteur urges Member States to fully examine the impact on aquaculture companies operating in coastal areas, the criteria for softening the impact and possible compensatory measures for these companies.
The opinion is set to be adopted at the November 2013 Plenary Session.