The Federation of European Aquaculture Producers (FEAP) held its 2021 General Assembly in Rome on December 3rd. This meeting has been the first onsite event organised by the federation since February 2020 and allowed online participation through a hybrid setting. The necessary social distancing and other covid prevention measures did not lessen the emotion of this long-awaited meeting.
The assembly was opened by Ms Lara Barazi-Geroulanou, FEAP President, and Mr Riccardo Rigillo, General Director for Fisheries and Aquaculture of Italy’s Ministry for Agriculture. Both highlighted the important role of aquaculture in the Green Deal, its relevance for food security in Europe and towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda.
The representatives of FEAP’s member associations discussed and decided upon the numerous issues related to aquaculture that are currently been dealt with by the European Commission like the implementation of the Strategic guidelines for a more sustainable and competitive EU aquaculture for the period 2021 to 2030, the EMFAF National Operational Programmes, and about the Sustainable Food Systems initiative.
The activity of the federation within the European Parliament was reviewed, specifically the work with several of its committees and about ongoing INI reports like the one ‘Towards a sustainable blue economy in the EU’ and ‘Striving for a sustainable and competitive EU aquaculture’. Finally, contributions to the FAO Shanghai Declaration and plans for its 2022 International Year of Artisanal Fisheries and Aquaculture were presented.
An internal commission was created in the federation to work on the issues related to the farming of Bluefin tuna. This new working group will focus on sustainability issues, innovation and best practices for the farming of this species. Currently, the FEAP has six other commissions: Environment, Communication, Fish health and welfare, Salmon and large trout, Freshwater species, Mediterranean and Sturgeon.
A position paper of the FEAP was approved on the legal cataloguing of fish farm effluent dry waste as manure. Although the definition of ‘manure’ set in the Animal by-product regulation does not cover solid materials from aquaculture, these materials should not be automatically catalogued as ‘sludge’. The FEAP holds that the solid material of fish farms resulting from the filtering and drying of effluents should be catalogued as ‘manure’ under the Animal by-products regulation.
During the General Assembly, the FEAP and the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The objective of the initiative is to provide the parties with a general framework and a guiding tool in identifying and carrying out specific collaborative projects and activities for joint implementation. The IUCN was represented by Mr François Simard. A previous MoU between FEAP and IUCN had been signed in 2008 and interesting documents resulted from it.
The General Secretary of the European Aquaculture Technology and Innovation Platform (EATiP), Mr David Bassett, travelled to Rome to deliver a presentation on the activities of the platform and on the close collaboration that both organisations carry out.
The General Assembly agreed collaborating with the European Salmon Smokers Association (ESSA) to develop a constructive relationship based on sharing technical best practices and improving practical aspects of salmon & trout supply by sharing information and discussing technical issues of common interest. The identified areas of common interest are Food safety, Quality and Public image.
In the closure of the General Assembly, Mr Uwe Barg, Aquaculture Officer with FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, intervened and thanked the FEAP for supporting the ‘Shanghai Declaration: Aquaculture for Food and Sustainable Development’, that had been adopted in the Global Conference on Aquaculture Millennium +20 that was successfully held in Shanghai (China) on 22-25 September 2021. Other representatives of FAO that attended the FEAP assembly were Mr Houssam Hanza (Aquaculture officer at FAO/GFCM) and Mr Fabio Massa (Aquaculture Consultant and Former Senior Aquaculture Officer at FAO GFCM).
The next plenary meeting of the FEAP will be its 2022 Annual General Meeting and it will take place in May in Budapest (Hungary).
About the Federation of European Aquaculture Producers
The Federation of European Aquaculture Producers is an organisation that represents the European fish farming profession and is based in Brussels. FEAP is composed of 24 national fish farming associations from 23 countries, both EU and non-EU. The combined yearly production of FEAP members surpasses 2,5 million tonnes of nutritious, safe, delicious, and environmentally sustainable fish.