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Thursday, 16 January 2003 - Strasbourg OJ edition

European aquaculture

  Kindermann (PSE).(DE) Mr President, a very important aspect of the common fisheries policy is the communication from the Commission on a strategy for the sustainable development of European aquaculture of September 2002. I therefore greatly welcome the initiative of the Committee on Fisheries to subject aquaculture in the European Union to a thorough investigation in an own–initiative report. The increasing importance of this sector of the fisheries industry is not only due to its steady growth in recent years; it can also be regarded as a genuine alternative to the dwindling stocks worldwide of marine fauna used for human consumption. It also has positive effects on the labour market, and – a point which should be emphasised – not only in coastal regions.

A large number of jobs depend directly or indirectly on aquaculture, both in primary production but also in many other sectors. I believe that research in this area is particularly important. The financial resources should undoubtedly be boosted here so that even better recommendations can be made. There are still many unresolved problems in aquaculture. Let me cite a few: the use of pharmaceuticals, minimising environmental impacts, food safety for consumers, improving production units in line with more stringent animal welfare standards, and, not least, protecting wild species from genetically manipulated fish species.

Finally, I would like to thank the rapporteur, Mr Martin, very warmly for his very thorough investigation of this issue. We will undoubtedly have reason to continue our debate on aquaculture in future.

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