News Digest n.9 / 2021
The Eurobarometer survey confirms that the large majority of Europeans (64%) continue to eat fish regularly, preferably at home. Frozen products are the most preferred category, slightly ahead of fresh and tinned products. 80% of consumers buy fishery or aquaculture products at the grocery store, supermarket or hypermarket. The COVID-19 crisis does not seem to have affected the consumption of seafood within the EU, although a slight decrease (-6%) is observed since 2018. Quality and price remain the most important purchasing factors, while demand for more consumer information has increased.
On 2 September, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) opened a public consultation with regards to new requirements to improve the welfare of farmed fish that take advantage of new developments and research to cover issues including water quality, stocking density and slaughter. The consultation will run for 60 days and will allow anyone with an interest or expertise to provide feedback on the proposed additions to ASC standards.
With support from the operational programme “Mar 2020”, 81 projects by aquaculture companies are underway, involving an investment of €102,8 million. These projects will increase the productivity and diversification of species such as algae, sole, turbot, seabass, seabream, trout and shellfish. The operational program “Mar 2020” aims to implement the support measures included in the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund, by promoting competitiveness and economic sustainability among its priorities, also environmental, social and territorial cohesion.
On 26 August, the European Commission adopted its proposal for fishing opportunities for 2022 for the Baltic Sea: EU countries will determine how much fish can be caught in the sea basin, for what concerns the most important commercial species. Moreover, the Commission proposes to increase fishing opportunities for herring in the Gulf of Riga and to maintain current levels for sprat, plaice and by-catches of Eastern cod. The Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, stressed that the “poor environmental status of the Baltic Sea is heavily affecting our local fishermen and women”, pointing out that the Commission is “doing its utmost to restore those stocks and today’s proposal is a reflection of that ambition”.
Located in Yerseke’s harbour area, the first mussel-vending machine has 45 compartments and allows consumers 24-hour access to fresh mussels sold in two-kilogram modified atmosphere packs. The machine is being leased as part of a three-year project in order to promote the industry with a €25,000 grant from the European Union.
According to the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation , in the first half of 2021, Scottish salmon farmers exported 33,638 tonnes of fresh salmon to the European Union. While the volumes increased to 67% compared to the first half of 2020, exporters were disappointed with the prices registered: with an export value of €216.4 million, the figure is 43% lower than the previous year. It is believed that intense competition in the salmon industry is driving down prices.