The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) and the Federation of European Aquaculture Producers (FEAP) are joining forces to improve the aquaculture sector in Europe, which employs about 70 000 people across the continent according to the EU. At the Seafood Expo Global in Barcelona the organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding pledging to work together towards their shared vision of a responsible aquaculture sector providing the solution to growing food demand and to ensure aquaculture is better recognised at a political level. The collaboration comes at a time of growing recognition and importance of sustainable food systems. These issues are being looked at by the EU, and both ASC and FEAP have built up valuable knowledge and experience over many years that can help with these developments. FEAP members will also benefit from greater access to ASC’s guidance on improving farm practices, which always bring economic as well as environmental benefits.
Aquaculture’s importance to Europe cannot be overstated: homegrown seafood like salmon, shellfish and seabass are vital to economies across the continent and provide food security. A more effective, and better represented industry is better for all Europeans, Chris Ninnes, ASC CEO, said. From its inception the ASC programme has been about collaboration between diverse stakeholders and knowing how effective this can be at driving change across the industry. FEAP’s President Lara Barazi-Geroulanou pointed out that European aquaculture was a frontrunner on environmental and social sustainability, but is a small player in the market. The European Union’s legal framework needs clear and sound technical screening criteria for sustainable aquaculture, she said. Our working experience as fish farmers together with the expertise of the ASC on responsible aquaculture standards will assure valuable results, she added.
The collaboration will be driven by a steering group co-chaired by Chris Ninnes and Javier Ojeda (FEAP’s
General Secretary), which will identify opportunities and manage projects in line with the organisations’ shared objectives.