The strategies are mutually reinforcing, bringing together nature, fishers, farmers, business and consumers for jointly working towards a competitively, sustainable future in line with the European Green Deal.
Under the Farm to Fork initiative, forthcoming strategic guidelines for the sustainable development of EU aquaculture will provide guidance to increase the sector’s sustainability and competitiveness.
The guidelines should also guide the sector towards a 50% reduction of antimicrobials use as well as the increase in organic aquaculture production. The Commission also plans a separate strategy for the development of algae production and use in the EU. Moreover, the strategy reiterates the need for full implementation of the common fisheries policy, stressing in particular the efforts still to be undertaken in the Mediterranean. A number of measures, including financial instruments, will be available to support European fishers and aquaculture producers in driving the necessary transition. All initiatives announced in the Farm to Fork Strategy will be subject to further discussion and consultation with stakeholders.
The Biodiversity Strategy aims to strengthen the protection of marine ecosystems and to restore them to achieve “good environmental status,” through the expansion of protected areas and the establishment of strictly protected areas for habitats and fish stocks recovery. The strategy stresses the need for an ecosystem-based approach to the management of human activities at sea. This means addressing the overexploitation of fishing stocks to or under, Maximum Sustainable Yield levels (i.e. a level that will allow a healthy future for the fish stock’s biomass); eliminating bycatch, or at least reducing it to non-dangerous levels, in order to protect sea mammals, turtles and birds, especially those that are threatened with extinction or in bad status; and tackling practices that damage the seabed.
Welcoming today’s European Commission launch of the EU 2030 Biodiversity Strategy, field ecologist and Green Party MEP Grace O’Sullivan said she was heartened to see the Commission moving forward to help tackle the loss of land and marine species.The Strategy has, she says, the potential to create transformative change.
“With National Biodiversity Week underway at home and International Day for Biological Diversity coming up on Friday, biodiversity has been to the forefront of Europe-wide news this week. COVID-19 has brought the frenetic pace and clamour of daily life to a dramatic halt and public discourse on the topic of biodiversity has been animated, with a corresponding surge in awareness of the living world around us in evidence.”
“Biodiversity is under significant strain from loss of species and habitat, water pollution, climate change and other factors. This strategy is a blueprint for action and I welcome the positive thrust of much of its content.”
Speaking on the content of the document, the Tramore-based Ireland South MEP said it’s crucial that focus is maintained on reaching the ambitions that are essential in the ongoing global efforts to halt the worldwide decline in biodiversity.
“I welcome, in particular, the Commission’s ambition to protect 30% of land and sea areas by 2030. A Nature Restoration plan must now be urgently put in place, with legally binding targets to restore ecosystems, through a massive restoration of peatlands, wetlands, marine habitats, forests and other areas.
“In this week of celebration and action around our rich and diverse biological heritage, we are reminded of our interconnectedness with the world around us. Biodiversity was under severe threat in pre-COVID times, and humankind’s relationship with nature was a toxic marriage. It’s time to mend our ways, to rebuild, and to respond to public sentiment with political action and leadership heralding a new way of living in a safe, healing and nurturing way, on our fragile, but potentially resilient planet.”