GC group2019The EUROFISH Governing Council is an annual event attended by representatives from the organisation’s member countries and their embassies, from observer countries and their embassies, as well as from observer organisations. This year not only saw several senior officials attending the event but was also the first Governing Council to be attended by Hungary as a full member of EUROFISH. Hungary formally joined EUROFISH as of November 2018.

The attendees gather to review the organisation’s performance in the year that has passed and approve the programme of activities for the coming year. Member countries’ representatives make concrete proposals for activities that are of interest to the individual country, or perhaps, to several. This year, for example, the organisation will be co-organising a conference in Italy on aquaculture, that was originally initiated by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Forestry and Tourism Policies and the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) but will be of interest to several EUROFISH member countries.

During the first day, in addition to the official business, representatives from FAO, the FAO Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia (REU), GFCM, and Lithuanian Ministry of Agriculture made interventions. John Ryder, FAO spoke on climate change and microplastics pollution in aquatic bodies and its impact, while Victoria Chomo, FAO REU described some of FAO’s activities aimed at developing fisheries in Europe, the Caucasus, and Central Asia. Fabio Massa, GFCM showed his organisation’s efforts in developing collaborations between the different countries that surround the Mediterranean and the Black Sea within the field of fisheries and aquaculture. Agnė Razmislavičiūtė-Palionienė, the Lithuanian delegate, reported on how Lithuania was using an EU campaign to popularise farmed seafood to introduce school pupils between the ages of 7 and 14 to cultivated fish. Last year the children were given classroom instruction about farmed fish and this year they will go on field trips to farms and to professional schools, where one learns about aquaculture, and would finally, based on all these experiences, submit a project that would be entered into a contest. The idea is to educate children about farmed fish so that they become familiar with it from a young age and will hopefully appreciate and consume it throughout their lives.

The second day of the Governing Council was devoted to administrative and financial matters. The EUROFISH budget for 2019 was approved and the organisation can look forward to a very busy year considering all the activities that are planned.