The overarching European policy affecting aquaculture is found in the Common Fisheries Policy and its related legislative instruments:
- The Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is primarily concerned with the management of the stocks of wild fish in European waters
- The Common Organisation of the Markets for Fisheries and Aquaculture Products (COM) looks to assist establishment of the best conditions for the markets in Europe.
- The European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) is the financial instrument for supporting and implementing the CFP and the COM. Fact sheet EMFF
In 2011, the European Commission (EC) published its proposals for CFP reform and the associate effects on the COM and the EMFF.
On 18/06/2013, the agreement on a new, reformed fisheries policy for the EU was reached between the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament. The agreement marks the culmination of an extended process which begun with a lengthy consultation process that in turn led to an ambitious 2011 package of reform proposals by the European Commission.
With regard to Aquaculture the main goal of the reform is to develop sustainable aquaculture: A better framework for aquaculture will contribute to increased production and supply of seafood in the EU, reduced dependence on imported fish and boosting of growth in coastal and rural areas.
To boost the development of EU aquaculture, the European Commission has issued Strategic guidelines, thereby cooperating with Member States and stakeholders in overcoming the challenges facing the sector. The EU aquaculture sector has a significant growth potential and can help to spare overexploited sea resources. The Guidelines presented today will help coordinate efforts across all Member States. They do not create new legal obligations, but present a series of voluntary steps that Member States, the Commission, and stakeholders can take to promote an industry that is economically, socially and environmentally sustainable and provides consumers with healthy, high-quality seafood.
By 2014, Member States will draft national strategic plans to remove administrative and other barriers, while upholding environmental, social and economic standards for the farmed-fish industry.