European Commission, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries DG

The way ahead for European aquaculture debated in Brussels

Today and tomorrow the European Commission will be hosting a major conference in Brussels on 'European Aquaculture and its Opportunities for Development'. The purpose of the conference is to advance the debate on the sustainable development of European aquaculture, and in particular to examine the role that public authorities can and should play in this context. Around 200 delegates are expected to attend, including professionals from a number of sectors, representatives of national and regional authorities, scientists, NGOs and other stakeholders. The priorities identified in a recent consultation process will guide the future review of the existing strategy on sustainable aquaculture in Europe. Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs Joe Borg will give the closing address on Friday morning.

Speaking on the review, Commissioner Borg will say: 'The review of the current aquaculture strategy will seek to unlock its potential for growth while continuing to ensure environmental sustainability and the highest health standards. We need to reduce our growing dependence on seafood imports and to turn our technological edge into jobs and growth within the EU and the global aquaculture market.'

Earlier this year, the Commission launched a major consultation with stakeholders on the way forward for sustainable aquaculture in the European Union, and aquaculture will be one of the Commission's strategic priorities for the Common Fisheries Policy in 2008. This week's conference will build on the analysis made by the Commission of the main issues identified in the course of the consultation, and help to guide future work.

The conference will begin with a plenary session on Thursday morning. This will be followed by two parallel workshops in the afternoon, looking at the role which public authorities can and do play in the development of the finfish and shellfish sectors, respectively. Speakers will cover a range of topics, including the challenges facing the sector in relation to environmental protection, animal health and welfare, sustainability, spatial planning, public health, markets and governance. The conference will conclude with a final plenary session on Friday morning, at which Commissioner Borg will give the closing address on the need for an EU strategy on aquaculture.

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