Aquaculture Advisory Council presents organic aquaculture recommendations to EU: overcoming barriers and ensuring sustainability
The Aquaculture Advisory Council (AAC) has published its recommendations aimed at fostering the growth of organic aquaculture within the European Union. In line with the Farm to Fork strategy, the AAC’s recommendations aim to enhance sustainable food production while navigating regulations and safeguarding the environment.
Navigating Regulatory Waters:
The AAC acknowledges the regulatory obstacles that hinder the advancement of the organic aquaculture sector. The complexity of regulations impedes streamlined business operations and undermines the sector’s potential. The AAC asserts that regulatory reforms are crucial for the industry to play a pivotal role in the competitive European aquaculture market.
Advancing Organic Feed and Sustainable Ingredients:
The AAC advocates for precise guidelines in defining organic feed, especially for carnivorous aquaculture species. Discrepancies in feed regulations across EU member states underscore the need for consistent guidance from the Commission. The AAC also champions the integration of alternative feed components such as insects into diets, providing premium organic feed alternatives that reduce dependence on non-organic marine feed ingredients. However, regulatory adjustments are essential to accommodate the burgeoning insect sector while upholding organic aquaculture standards.
Thus, other feed ingredients, such as marine ingredients derived from by-products, will play an important part of future-proofing sustainable organic aquaculture. In fact, EFFOP has calculated that approximately 38 % of its marine ingredients production currently originates from by-products. This translates to about 1 million tonnes of raw material being processed to yield approximately 240,000 tonnes of sustainable, circular marine ingredients in Europe. As global supply and logistics chains align, this figure is expected to rise. Thus, market and regulatory mechanisms to support the development of these ingredients should be considered.
Sustainable Growth and Economic Viability:
The AAC underscores the significance of assessing economic viability for primary producers to drive organic aquaculture expansion. Balancing factors like increased feed costs, farm adaptations, and access to space licenses against potential revenue from product sales and public goods provision is pivotal. Conducting an economic impact assessment at the farm level is crucial for facilitating a smooth transition to organic production, aligning with the Farm to Fork strategy’s overarching goals.
The AAC puts forward a set of pragmatic recommendations to stimulate organic aquaculture growth:
- Streamline regulations to facilitate the introduction of non-organic juveniles and establish consistent rules for feeding carnivorous aquaculture species.
- Advocate for the incorporation of alternative feed ingredients, by revising regulations to accommodate their usage.
- Provide unambiguous guidance on water quality standards for organic shellfish and algae farming.
- Establish an EU helpdesk to provide accessible guidance on organic aquaculture practices.
- Support primary aquaculture producers’ economic well-being by ensuring compensation for ecosystem services.
- Encourage member states to simplify licensing procedures for organic aquaculture in ecologically suitable areas.
- Increase budgets for public procurement to promote sustainable product consumption and bolster a resilient food system.
By advocating for a harmonious approach that balances economic feasibility and environmental considerations, the AAC aims to align the organic aquaculture sector with the Farm to Fork strategy’s overarching objectives. Ultimately, this initiative contributes to cultivating a more sustainable and equitable food system within the EU, reflecting the AAC’s dedication to shaping a greener future.
Read AAC’s recommendation on Organic Aquaculture here.
You can also read more about aquaculture on EFFOP’s website here.