News Digest n.5 / 2022
Today, aquaculture is dependent on fishmeal and soybean meal. Both are finite resources, with serious environmental problems and economically unsustainable. This situation is worsening every year, as these resources have exceeded their exploitation limit. Despite this, demand for them continues to increase. Alternative sources of protein from local resources and by-products of livestock and agriculture have been studied for many years. World population growth, increasing food demand and environmental concerns mean that these alternative protein sources, in addition to being nutritious, economical and environmentally sustainable, must be produced in thousands of tons. Insects could meet these conditions. Their cultivation is more sustainable than that of other foods and, in addition, their production is part of the circular economy’s concept.
The European Commission has published a study on regionalisation. Regionalisation is a concept from the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) Regulation that enables a bottom-up approach to fisheries governance by allowing lower-level authorities and stakeholders to step into the fisheries management process and design tailor-made management on a regional scale. The study concludes that regionalisation is both necessary and useful. Without regionalisation, it would be difficult to manage fisheries with the same level of detail, because a one-size-fits-all approach would ignore local specificities that apply in a particular sea basin. The study also notes that this, in turn, facilitates a focus on longer term goals in relation to environmental, economic and social sustainability.
The European Parliament gave on Wednesday its green light to a new fisheries agreement with Mauritania, which should strengthen environmental, economic, social and scientific cooperation. With 557 votes to 34 and 31 abstentions, members of the European Parliament backed the largest fisheries agreement concluded by the EU with a third country. Valid for six years, it will enable vessels from France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Spain to fish for tuna, small pelagic fish, crustaceans and demersal fish in Mauritanian waters. In return for maximum 290.000 tonnes of fish, Mauritania will receive €57.5 million a year. An additional €3.3 million per year will be used to support the local fishing community.
On June 7 2022, the European Commission has proposed an annual EU budget of €185.6 billion for 2023, to be complemented by an estimated €113.9 billion in grants under NextGenerationEU. The EU budget will continue to mobilise significant investments to boost Europe's strategic autonomy, the ongoing economic recovery, safeguard sustainability and create jobs. The budget includes €53.6 billion for the Common Agricultural Policy and €1.1 billion for the European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund, for Europe's farmers and fishers, but also to strengthen the resilience of the agri-food and fisheries sectors and to provide the necessary scope for crisis management in light of expected global food supply shortages.
The Commission has today adopted its Partnership Agreement with France, laying down an investment strategy worth €18.4 billion in cohesion policy funding for the period 2021-2027. This includes €567 million from the European Maritime Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund which will facilitate the ecological transition of the fishing and aquaculture sectors. The funding will help bringing seafood and aquaculture products in line with the expectations of consumers for sustainable food choices, sustain small-scale coastal fishing, improve the sectors' resilience, and boost take-up of innovative solutions to the challenges of today.
On June 1 2022, the Commission published its Communication “Towards more sustainable fishing in the EU: state of play and orientations for 2023” giving an annual review of EU's fisheries management and outlining priorities ahead for 2023. Although the figures assessed by independent scientific agencies show that conservation efforts are further bearing fruit and the EU fisheries policy has been delivering in reducing overfishing in European waters, further efforts are still needed to protect marine resources. This can be achieved by maintaining high levels of ambition within the EU and by striving to accomplish the same high standard in the work with non-EU countries, like Norway, UK and the Coastal States.
The GFCM has teamed up with the Institut Paul Bocuse Research Center and with Mediterranean and Black Sea producers to create a guide highlighting the journey of aquaculture species in the region from farm to fork. Farmed aquatic foods are both a cultural and nutritional pillar of the Mediterranean and Black Sea: however, despite the significance of aquaculture in this area, the available products and their origin, nutritional value and benefits are widely unknown to communities. Therefore, the GFCM is working alongside aquaculture producers, producer associations and the Institut of Paul Bocuse Research Center to create a guide on farmed aquatic species, which will contain: production of species in the region, highlighting success stories; culinary history of selected species; nutritional value of aquatic foods; best ingredients pairings; innovative and healthy recipes.
According to the European Market Observatory for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products, the total organic aquaculture production at EU 27 level is estimated at 74.032 tonnes in 2020, accounting for 6,4% of the total EU aquaculture production. The production has increased by 60% compared to 2015 (46.341 tonnes at EU 27 level in 2015), this is mainly due to a growth in organic mussel production. Based on data collected for this study (EU and national sources), the main species produced are mussels (41.936 tonnes), accounting for more than half of the total organic aquaculture production, followed by salmon (12.870 tonnes), trout (4.590 tonnes), carp (3.562 tonnes), oyster (3.228 tonnes) and European seabass/gilthead seabream (2.750 tonnes).
The European Commission has published in May its annual EU Blue Economy Report to take stock and uncover the latest trends and developments in all economic sectors related to the oceans and coastal areas. The EU blue economy sectors contribute significantly to the EU’s economy, with 4.5 million people employed and a turnover of more than €665 billion and €184 billion in gross value added. The report also remarks that the EU’s blue sectors are paving the way for innovative solutions and technologies that can contribute to the fight against climate change, underlined also by the EU Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginius Sinkevičius, stating that these sectors “will play an indispensable role in this transition”.