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Fisheries committee calls for sea and farms to be included together in European Sustainable Food Strategy

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On Monday, the PECH Committee adopted a report for which our Basque MEP Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (EAJ/PNV) is rapporteur, incorporating 20 major agreements reached by the main forces in the European Parliament. This report will form part of the material to be analysed by the Environment and Regional Development Committees when drawing up the final report on the food strategy "Farm to Fork".

The European Parliament's Committee on Fisheries (PECH), who is dissatisfied with the contents of the "Farm to Fork" initiative, demands the inclusion of fishery and aquaculture products in the name of the European strategy in order to promote a sustainable system of food production and distribution. If this initiative is approved, this Community plan would be renamed "From the sea and farm to fork" and would incorporate contributions related to the quality of protein from the sea, the most sustainable methods for obtaining it, and traceability and labelling processes that guarantee its origin and quality for consumers.

Among the issues mentioned is the need to implement an effective system for the traceability of catches and aquaculture production guaranteeing the reliability of the information consumers receive about the origin of the fish they consume. In addition to its positive impact on the food supply chain, traceability can also be an effective tool against illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

Our MEP Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, rapporteur for the report, welcomed the outcome of the vote: "Today in the Fisheries Committee we have demanded that the fisheries sector be recognised as a fundamental part of the European strategy to make our food production and distribution system more sustainable. We want this strategy to be called "From the Sea and Farm to Fork" because fishermen are "guardians and protectors of the sea" just as farmers and livestock farmers are recognised as "guardians of the land". The sea produces high value, high quality protein. A coherent European food strategy must recognise this reality and support and enhance sustainability and the involvement of fisheries and aquaculture professionals in value chains. Fisheries and aquaculture professionals have the primary interest in making their activity sustainable and deserve social recognition for the efforts they make to achieve this. Protecting and supporting them and guaranteeing to consumers that what reaches their tables is the fruit of their efforts is a pledge towards the European food production strategy".