Brussels, 04 Oct 2002
MEPs have highlighted the need for improved research on aquaculture (fish farming), while Commission representatives have acknowledged that their budget in this area needs boosting.
The comments came at a public hearing of the Fisheries Committee in the European Parliament, where scientists, industry representatives and the environmentally concerned made their views on the practice known.
Opinion was divided over the environmental impact of aquaculture. Some felt that its 'fundamental flaws' justified a shift away from the farming of fish, whilst others argued that sustainability was merely a matter of efficient regulation backed by political will. But all were agreed on the need for further research.
There was also consensus on the social and economic importance of the industry, which in many areas has become the only alternative employment for those left jobless by the decline of the fishing industry.
Industry representatives outlined the need for new regulation, since aquaculture is currently governed by 359 separate legislative texts, and requested public funding as a means of introducing 'cleaner' technologies.
The hearing will contribute to an own-initiative report being drawn up by French MEP Hugues Martin on aquaculture, and follows a Commission communication on the subject published on 19 September.
To read a copy of the Commission's communication on aquaculture, please consult the following web address: http://europa.eu.int/comm/fisheries/doc_ et_publ/factsheets/legal_texts/docscom/e n/com_02_511_en.pdf