9 February 2012

Common Fisheries Policy report says EU must overhaul fisheries eco-labelling

A key report on the future of European fisheries markets has called on the European Commission to establish a new higher standard for eco-labelling across all fisheries products sold in the EU. The author of the report Struan Stevenson MEP told delegates at the ‘Shaping the future of the Common Fisheries Policy’, conference on 8 February, including EU Fisheries Commissioner Maria Damanaki, that he recommends that the industry sweep away the many differing and confusing eco-labels currently used and set a standard that consumers and the industry can more easily recognise and understand.

Struan Stevenson, the European Parliament’s rapporteur on Common Market Organisation (CMO) of fisheries and aquaculture said, “Following extensive consultation with industry stakeholders, my report on CMO reform involves a host of measures to improve fisheries markets, ranging from measures on producer organisations to the question of discards. I have come to the conclusion that providing consumers with clear, easily understood information on fisheries and aquaculture products is absolutely essential.”

Stevenson continued by recommending that the European Commission establish minimum rules for a voluntary EU eco-label, setting the bar at a higher level than the mandatory rules and regulations that govern the sector just now. I would even suggest extending this voluntary label to companies outside the EU exporting to our markets to ensure there is a level playing field. The recommendations will be submitted for consideration to the European Parliament's Fisheries Committee in March. If formally agreed by the Committee, they will form the basis of the European Parliament’s position on a crucial aspect of the Common Fisheries Policy reform package, unveiled by The EU Fisheries Commissioner in July 2011.

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