MEPs Call for Strong Fish Traceability System in Europe

13 May 2016, at 1:00am

EU - A strong traceability system for all fishery products sold in EU restaurants and shops would help to prevent cases of mislabelling, said MEPs in a resolution approved on Thursday 12 May.

A sound EU fish labelling policy would in turn boost consumer confidence and the economic development of the EU fishing industry, they added.

MEPs voice concern about various studies showing significant levels of mislabelling of fish products sold on the EU market and call on EU member states to step up national checks, including on non-processed fish supplied to restaurants and the catering sector, in order to tackle fraud and to identify the stage in the supply chain at which fish is mislabelled.

The non-legislative resolution was approved by a show of hands.

A strong traceability system

Parliament advocates creating a strong traceability system, from landing to consumption, which would give consumers confidence and strengthen the EU market. MEPs call on the European Commission to exploit the potential of DNA barcoding to help identify species

EU-wide labelling

Parliament asks the Commission to assess the benefits of setting up an EU-wide labelling system which would need to ensure transparency and credibility of the certification process and provide understandable, verifiable and accurate information.

A sound European labelling policy in the fisheries sector would be a key factor in boosting the economic development of coastal communities, recognizing the best practices of fishermen and underlining the quality of their products supplied to consumers, says the text.

Existing confusions with EU fishing areas

Parliament calls on the Commission to remedy the confusion caused by the current EU labelling requirements, based on UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) areas and sub-areas, whereby fish caught off Galicia and the in Gulf of Cádiz are labelled as being from “Portuguese Waters” those caught off Wales as from the “Irish Sea” and those caught off Brittany as “Bay of Biscay”.