For the first time ever, the European Commission has issued a strategy for the sustainable development of European fish farming (aquaculture).

This strategy is part of a series of proposals issued by the Commission to reform the Common Fisheries Policy. Aquaculture can generate much needed jobs in coastal areas which suffer from a chronic lack of employment opportunities, the Commission said. It provides a regular supply of safe, quality fisheries products at affordable prices.

"No doubt, the Commission is ambitious. In the next years, we want to create 8000 jobs in the fisheries sector, which has been suffering from important job losses. But our strategy makes clear that boosting fish farming must not be achieved at the expense of the environment, food safety or quality," Franz Fischler, Commissioner responsible for Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries said.

Fischler will present this proposal to the Council of Fisheries Ministers to be held on 24 September. Other concrete reform proposals will follow shortly, the Commission said. These will relate to Mediterranean fisheries, improvement of scientific advice, control and monitoring of fisheries activities and fishing beyond EU waters.

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