EU proposes a plan to promote sustainable development of fisheries and aquaculture industry

——By 2050, the fishing and aquaculture industries will achieve net zero emissions

Photo taken by Teng Yupeng at the EU headquarters building

On February 21st, the European Commission proposed a package of measures to promote the sustainable development and resilience of the EU fisheries and aquaculture industry, mainly including four parts: firstly, the energy transformation of the fisheries and aquaculture sector; The second is to protect and restore the marine ecosystem to promote the sustainable development and resilience of fisheries; The third is the current and future common fisheries policy; The fourth is about the common market organization for fisheries and aquaculture products. The main goals of these measures are to promote the use of clean energy, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and reduce the impact of fisheries and aquaculture sectors on marine ecosystems.

1The definition and characteristics of zero emission recirculating aquaculture

Zero emission recirculating aquaculture is a new type of aquaculture method that utilizes water resources through scientific and rational water recycling, while solving the significant pollution problems caused by traditional aquaculture. It is a green and environmentally friendly aquaculture method. Compared with traditional aquaculture, the main characteristics of zero emission circulating water aquaculture are:

(1). Efficient utilization of water resources: By scientifically recycling water resources, water consumption in the aquaculture process is significantly reduced, and the amount of water discharged is compressed, thereby achieving efficient utilization of water resources.

(2). Zero emissions: After adopting the circular aquaculture model, there is basically no discharge of wastewater and aquaculture waste, achieving the reuse of waste and energy recycling, which is in line with today's environmental protection concepts and needs.

(3). Promoting the sustainable development of the aquaculture industry: Zero emission circulating water aquaculture is a scientific aquaculture model that can greatly reduce comprehensive costs and pollution risks, improve the quality and efficiency of aquaculture products, reduce the occurrence of various environmental and social problems caused by traditional aquaculture, and provide a new direction for the sustainable development of the aquaculture industry.

2The promoting effect of zero emission circulating water aquaculture on progress

The emergence of zero emission circulating water aquaculture not only benefits the improvement of the quality, efficiency, and sustainable development of the aquaculture industry, but also provides useful reference and basis for the upgrading of traditional aquaculture, with the following progress promoting effects:

(1). Solving the pollution problem in the aquaculture industry: Traditional aquaculture is prone to polluting the environment and wasting water resources, while zero discharge circulating water aquaculture can effectively avoid such problems and is an environmentally friendly aquaculture method.

(2). Promoting technological upgrading in the aquaculture industry: With the development of the industry, traditional aquaculture models can no longer meet the needs of the industry. Implementing new models such as zero emission circular water aquaculture can promote technological upgrading, improve production efficiency, save resources, and protect the environment.

(3). Promoting the economic benefits of the aquaculture industry: adopting a zero emission circulating water aquaculture model can save a lot of water resources, reduce investment costs for enterprises, and effectively reduce operational risks, thereby promoting the economic benefits of the aquaculture industry.

3By 2050, the fishing and aquaculture industries will achieve net zero emissions

The plan believes that currently, the industry's reliance on fossil fuels is not only environmentally unsustainable, but also susceptible to the impact of rising energy prices. Between 2021 and 2022, when energy prices rise, many vessels from the EU fishing fleet remain in ports due to the inability to pay operating costs. In addition, the aquaculture industry is susceptible to the impact of rising fuel and feed prices, and it received financial support from the European union at that time.

The proposed plan aims to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and achieve climate neutrality in the fishing and aquaculture industries, in order to achieve climate neutrality in the European union by 2050. The EU supports the industry in accelerating its energy transition by improving fuel efficiency and shifting towards renewable low-carbon energy. One of the key actions is the EU Energy Transition Partnership for Fisheries and Aquaculture, which will bring together all stakeholders, including fisheries, aquaculture, shipbuilding, ports, energy, non-governmental organizations, national and regional governments, to address the challenges faced by the sector's energy transition.

4Protecting marine ecosystems that are conducive to sustainable development of fisheries

The plan states that climate change, loss of biodiversity, and marine pollution pose a threat to the sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture resources. The European Commission plans to propose a "Marine Action Plan" to strengthen the contribution of the "Common Fisheries Policy" to EU environmental goals and reduce the adverse effects of fishing activities on marine ecosystems, particularly through seabed disturbances, by-product harvesting of sensitive species, and impacts on marine food webs. A healthy marine environment, healthy fish resources, and abundant biodiversity are the only ways to ensure the long-term prosperity of EU fisheries.

This action plan will contribute to the implementation of the EU 2030 Biodiversity Strategy and the legal and effective protection of 30% of the sea area, of which one-third will be strictly protected. To achieve this goal, the European Commission calls on member states to take fisheries protection measures and effectively protect and manage marine protected areas within a clear timetable, including protecting fish spawning and breeding areas, reducing fish mortality rates, and restoring core areas of sensitive species and their habitats.

The plan also aims to reduce the impact of fishing on the seabed. Considering the importance of marine protected areas as part of the European Union's marine biodiversity and the importance of blue carbon in marine habitats in addressing climate change, protecting and restoring the seabed habitats of marine protected areas is crucial. Therefore, the European Commission calls on member states to gradually phase out bottom trawl fishing in all marine protected areas by 2030 at the latest, and to prohibit bottom trawl fishing in any newly established marine protected areas. According to the Habitat Directive, the first batch of measures should be taken for the "Nature 2000" site before March 2024 to protect the seabed and marine species. Due to the ocean covering 71% of the Earth's surface and over 65% of EU territory, this action plan will also become part of the EU's efforts to implement the Kunming Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework.

5The Fisheries and Oceans Convention contributes to the implementation of common fisheries policies

The plan believes that the Common Fisheries Policy remains the appropriate legal framework to address the challenges faced by the European Union's fisheries and the oceans it relies on, providing necessary stable policies for the fisheries sector and enabling the EU to promote global sustainable fisheries development. The three main principles on which this policy is based still apply: environmental, social, and economic sustainability; Effective regional cooperation; Scientifically based decision-making. However, the comprehensive implementation of the common fisheries policy still faces some challenges, requiring faster and more structural transformation to reduce the impact of fisheries and aquaculture on the environment and climate. This is essential for restoring a healthy marine environment, ensuring food security, increasing industry resilience, improving energy efficiency, and rapidly achieving climate neutrality, which helps to save fuel costs and thrive on green energy. In view of this, the European Commission has proposed a "Fisheries and Oceans Convention" with the aim of unifying the vision for the future planning of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, reaffirming the common commitment to fully implement common fisheries policies, and so on.

According to statistics, in 2020, the number of employed persons in the European Union's commercial fishing industry was 124630, and the number of employed persons in the aquaculture industry was 57000. The common fisheries policy aims to ensure the long-term environmental, economic, and social sustainability of fisheries and aquaculture, the sustained supply of food, and a fair standard of living for the fisheries and aquaculture industry.

Frans Timomans, Executive Vice President of the European Commission responsible for climate issues, stated that most economies rely on nature, and fisheries may be the most directly connected industry. The economic feasibility of fisheries is crucial for marine ecosystems and their fish, shellfish, algae, and plants, and these proposals aim to establish sustainable relationships with the ocean. The European Commission will collaborate with the fishing and aquaculture industries to help them adopt sustainable practices, including reducing energy use and using more selective fishing gear. As part of efforts to restore and protect nature, the EU also demands that member states gradually cease bottom trawl fishing in vulnerable areas. Through joint efforts, we hope to find an appropriate balance point and establish a healthy marine ecosystem throughout Europe.

Source: Beijing Daily

Post time: Mar-26-2024

Leave Your Message