“There is no Green without Blue” was the message conveyed by Virginijus Sinkevičius, Commissioner for the Environment, Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, at the “Blue farming in the European Green Deal: A vision for sustainable aquaculture production and consumption in the European Union” event which took place on 27 May 2021 in Brussels.
The event was organised by the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) of the European Commission and gathered a broad range of relevant stakeholders (governments and public authorities at EU, national and regional level, industry, NGOs, academia, investors, retailers, as well as consumers).
The conference was held on the occasion of the publication of the new Strategic Guidelines for a more sustainable and competitive aquaculture in the EU for the period 2021 to 2030. Its objective wass to discuss how best to achieve the vision enshrined in the strategic guidelines in the years to come and get the engagement of all stakeholders to the successful implementation of that vision, with high-level representatives from different European institutions and the Aquaculture Advisory Council sharing their views on sustainable aquaculture and its role in the European Green Deal.
Loud and clear message for the future
The key messages from the heads of the European institutions were:
· Aquaculture can contribute to strengthening European competitiveness and the transition to a “green economy”, to job creation and the development of local communities, but also to the provision of high-quality products of high nutritional value with low environmental footprint;
· The promotion of marine spatial planning in the Member States is a priority and a basic condition to ensure development prospects and legal stability for aquaculture;
· The key to achieving the objectives of the EU is now held by the Member States. The submission of national multi-annual strategic plans for aquaculture development, outlining the national strategy for aquaculture development with specific measures and quantitative targets, and the timely preparation and implementation of the new Operational Programme for Fisheries in order to make use of available Community and national resources are the “game changers” and there is no room for mistakes and delays.
Ms Lara Barazi – Geroulanou, President of FEAP and Member of HAPO, participated in the conference and during her speech, she emphasized the fact that sustainability and competitiveness are two interrelated concepts for aquaculture. She also added that the new institutional framework for the development of aquaculture reflects the challenges and objectives of the sector and gives it an opportunity to become more competitive, to contribute to food security and to the creation of economic opportunities and jobs, as well as to become a global benchmark for its sustainability. Regarding Greece, Ms Barazi – Geroulanou commented that “The European Commission presented us with the institutional framework for the sustainable development of the sector and the European Council approved its funding. It is now the responsibility of the Greek state to make use of both, in a timely and effective manner.”
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