Wednesday, 20 March 2019 12:32

Brussels: Celebrating its 50th anniversary FEAP charts the future of European aquaculture

EM2 19 News Int FEAPThe Federation of European Aquaculture Producers (FEAP) celebrated its 50th anniversary on 29 November 2018 with an event entitled “We are the Solution” in Brussels. FEAP represents a profession producing over 20 species of fish including salmon, trout, seabass, seabream etc.  The conference traced the evolution of aquaculture and FEAP’s role over the past 50 years and, more importantly, focused on the future development of the sector. Technology has already enabled almost unthinkable advances in efficiency, particularly in countries like Norway. Where six people produced 180 tonnes of farmed fish in 1986, in 2015 four workers produced 12,000 tonnes. Technology also makes it possible to farm in more exposed areas and to higher standards of fish welfare, and with fewer environmental impacts. It will also help in combating the problems of escapes and sea lice (in case of salmon). Technology is, however, only one of the inputs into the sector. Fish feeds, another vital factor, will continue to evolve, containing less fishmeal and fish oil and depending more on novel raw materials that will positively impact feed efficiencies and the health and welfare of fish. It is these developments and other that will make it possible to produce the estimated 30m tonnes of fish needed to feed the global population in 2050 in the face of stable catches of wild fish. Competing visions for the industry were also aired at the event with one speaker emphasising the importance of low impact fish farming using an ecosystem-based model that captured and reused nutrients to prevent environmental degradation and to change the negative perception of aquaculture prevalent among parts of the public. Building a positive image of the industry as well as creating an awareness of the health benefits of fish are the goals of the Farmed in the EU campaign. At least two countries, Lithuania and Ireland, have started programmes with school children to inform them about the socioeconomic, nutritional, and environmental role of European aquaculture. Giving future generations the wherewithal to make informed decisions about the aquaculture sector will contribute to a competitive and dynamic industry in the future, as envisioned by FEAP.