Thematic Session: Blue Growth (Pillar 1) – Improving Competitiveness of Fresh Water Aquaculture Production in Adriatic-Ionian Region
Integrated solutions for a new aquaculture
Vivid discussion was followed during the first session dedicated to Blue Growth Pillar. Speakers from various branches (national ministries, academic, institute researches as well as EC) discussed the topic on fresh water aquaculture production, which still needs to be discovered and promoted in the Adriatic and Ionian region.
Participants agreed that aquaculture can provide multiple benefits in terms of food security, employment, and economic development, while reducing the dependence on often overexploited wild fishery stocks. Challenges for overall sustainability of aquaculture sector in regional, national, and local level, are related to administrative procedure, financial support, access to space, market issues, integration in local economy and similar. Freshwater aquaculture in the Adriatic-Ionian region, due to more or less traditional way of farming, still requires further innovative activities and the exchange of best practices to increase efficiency and competitiveness of the sector. In this respect, new financial perspective 2021-2027 as well as other EU and international instruments could serve as potential for financing innovative approaches and activities in this field. EU included aquaculture in its framework, which in the period 2021-2027 will be European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF). Taking into account findings from presentations, it is needed to improve communication in terms of product in order to increase visibility of aquaculture sector, raise awareness and to boost public image. Nevertheless, it is obvious that there is a common potential in the field of fresh water aquaculture in terms of growth, raising competitiveness and resilience, green recovery, unpolluted nature and clean waters.