EU’s Aquaculture Advisory Council (AAC) meeting (Neil Auchterlonie)

Neil Auchterlonie attended the EU’s Aquaculture Advisory Council (AAC) meeting in Brussels on the 16th May 2018.  The setup of the AAC by the European Commission was one of the actions that came out of Common Fisheries Policy Reform, and the Council was formed in 2016.  The AAC is a multi-stakeholder platform with an aim to provide recommendations and advice to the EC on the sustainable development of the aquaculture sector in Europe. 

The stakeholders are gathered roughly on the basis that there is a 60%:40% split of industry and NGOs, and the mechanism is based on the Open Method of Coordination as adopted within the EU.  Recognising the inclusion of discussions on aquafeed in the Council, IFFO became members in 2017.  There are three working groups in the AAC: WG 1 Finfish; WG2 Shellfish and WG3: Horizontal Issues.  WGs 1&3 have worked on draft documents on sustainable feeds, and the use of the Fish In:Fish Out ratio respectively, so the discussions are very relevant to our work.  At the meeting on the 16th May, the draft paper on FIFO produced by WG3 was discussed and although two of us in the WG made a strong case for the adoption of alternative methods of looking at marine ingredient use in aquafeed the Council has decided that the work needs to continue.  Disappointingly, much of the discussion hinged on some of the old misunderstandings about FMFO use in aquafeeds, and raw material supply.  Dr Niels Alsted of Biomar, along with Neil and several others have been tasked with writing a further paper on FIFO during 2018.  

The topic has been moved into WG1 as a reflection of the lack of a fed shellfish industry in the EU, and the agreement that this is more relevant to finfish than any of the other WGs.  We look forward to informing our members more of our activities on this subject in due course.