On 12 September, the European Economic and Social Committee will be holding a public hearing on European aquaculture, organised in cooperation with the Spanish region of Murcia. The hearing, which will take place in Murcia, is being held in connection with Communication on this subject by the European Commission, several months ago.
The market for fisheries products in the EU is currently supplied by EU fisheries (25%), imports (65%) and EU aquaculture (10%). As the Commission points out, the excellent quality of these products "constitutes a significant competitive advantage for the EU aquaculture industry; however this is currently stagnant, which is quite contrary to the strong growth in other world regions”.
The hearing will give the various players in local and European civil society the opportunity to contribute in this area.
As experience with aquaculture grows worldwide, the concept of sustainable aquaculture is increasingly recognized to incorporate both spatial and temporal dimensions of environmental, economic, and social parameters. Practitioners have discovered that sustainable aquaculture must not only maximize beneﬁts, but also minimize accumulation of detriments, as well as other types of negative impacts on natural and social environment, according to a widely cited paper in the academic literature who wrote Frankic and Hershner, from Center for Coastal Resources Management, Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William & Mary. Therefore, sustainable aquaculture development must be advanced in a manner that is environmentally sustainable and that protects the quality of the environment for other users, while it is equally important for society to protect the quality of the environment for aquaculture.
This paper provides a brief review of the worldwide aquaculture development in the last decade, and gives a few examples of sustainable aquaculture activities in the coastal areas that are using natural coastal habitats and ecosystems. Based on already existing national and international efforts to promote sustainable aquaculture, key recommendations are provided, including what should be the next proactive steps.