Following a three year long process the Advisory Council on Aquaculture is finally established, and can start its work on shaping European aquaculture. Seas At Risk aims to encourage the development of an environmentally responsible aquaculture sector, minimising its environmental impact.

Farming finfish, shellfish and aquatic plants is one of the world's fastest growing food sectors. In Europe, aquaculture accounts for about 20% of fish production and the European Commission intends to further boost the aquaculture sector to meet the increasing demand of seafood. In the coming years, as foreseen by the European legislation of the Common Fisheries Policy, the Aquaculture Advisory Council will contribute to the development of European aquaculture by providing advice to the European Commission, other European Institutions and EU Member States on issues relating to the aquaculture value chain. The recommendations will be based on the expertise of its stakeholders, which are divided in two different colleges: one representing the environmental NGOs, anglers, and consumers, and the other one representing the aquaculture producers, animal feed-, processing- and services sector.

During the General Assembly meeting held on the 8th of December, the work plan and budget for the coming year were approved, as well as the Executive Committee consisting now of twenty member organisations. Richie Flynn, Executive Aquaculture at the Irish Farmers' Association, Marco Gilmozzi, President of the Federation of European Aquaculture Producers and Marc-Philip Buckhout, Policy Officer at Seas At Risk, were elected as chair and vice-chair of the Aquaculture Advisory Council.

Bruna Campos, Policy Officer at BirdLife Europe and Brian Thomsen, Director of Dansk Akvakultur were elected as chair and vice-chair of the working group specialised on horizontal issues, which covers topics such as defining sustainable aquaculture and sustainable fish feeds. Two additional working groups on finfish and shellfish aquaculture will take up their work in early 2017.

In the coming months, the stakeholders within the Aquaculture Advisory Council will identify the challenges faced by European aquaculture.

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