European Commission recommendations to encourage the development of aquaculture in the European Union

The European Commission has presented two staff working documents aimed at promoting the sustainable expansion of aquaculture in EU member states, in response to requests from aquaculture producers to ease regulatory burdens.

The papers, created to address obstacles hindering aquaculture growth, focus on complicated regulatory frameworks and challenges in accessing the space and water needed for marine aquaculture development. They demonstrate successful practices from several EU countries, such as Norway and the UK, and offer useful suggestions.

Recognising the important role of aquaculture in improving food security and promoting sustainable food systems, the Commission highlights the sector’s potential to reduce the EU’s dependence on imported agricultural products while reducing pressure on wild fish stocks. It also highlights the capacity of aquaculture to create employment opportunities, especially in coastal and rural areas.

These actions are in line with the Commission’s broader vision, expressed in its 2021 strategic guidelines for aquaculture in the EU, which focus on innovation, ensuring social acceptance, and improving competitiveness.

Later in 2024, the Commission will issue further guidance on access to space and water for freshwater and land-based aquaculture. Additionally, it pledges to consistently update Member States and offer support through the EU Aquaculture Assistance Facility, which provides specialised training sessions and online resources.

By implementing these measures, the Commission aims to strengthen Member States’ capacities to achieve their aquaculture objectives and promote a sector that is ready for sustainable growth and sustainability in the EU.

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