A range of measures are being developed by the European Commission as part of its first comprehensive strategy to promote a sustainable and growing aquaculture industry within the European Union.

Brussels wants to create 8-10,000 jobs in the industry between 2003-2008. It says it will refocus state aid on strengthening existing businesses, training, monitoring, R&D and clean farming technologies.

The strategy also calls on Member States to improve quality labelling and for Brussels to establish codes of conduct for corporate governance. It says there should be better monitoring of antibiotic and other residues in farmed fish, which can threaten its image and also research into algal blooms, which can damage aquaculture.

The public image of the industry could also be improved by a Recommendation (formal guideline) on the welfare of farmed fish, said the Commission, which is drawing up such proposals. Similarly, Brussels is considering the need for rules on transgenic fish and it will propose measures to manage the introduction of non-indigenous aquatic species.

By Keith Nuthall, just-food.com correspondent