While attending the 23rd North Atlantic Fisheries Ministers Conference in the Faroe Islands, the European Union’s Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs, and Fisheries Karmenu Vella opened the gathering by welcoming progress made under the EU’s agenda on international ocean governance and stressed the need for a comprehensive plan that would focus on effectively responding to challenges that maritime stakeholders around the globe currently face.

Vella also noted that an increase in sustainable aquaculture production was essential to help feed the growing global population and said the European Union needed to step up its efforts to prevent overfishing and protect marine ecosystems, including by strengthening its Common Fisheries Policy and the Integrated Maritime Policy, in order to roll back the eventual knock-on effect that overfished commercial fish stocks will have for European consumers.

“Nearly two out of every three fish we consume in the European Union comes from beyond our shores – we have a global responsibility to ensure that those fish are sourced sustainably as well…The keys to a successful and sustainable future are in our hands. It is up to us to ensure that the fish on our plates is high quality and sustainably farmed and to respect and preserve all oceans for now and for future generations,” said Vella.

The European Union currently imports almost two-thirds of its seafood and fish needs from North Africa, South America, and East Asia. Brussels hopes to expand its collaborative efforts to create the conditions for a sustainable blue economy, with third-party countries including Brazil, Argentina, and South Africa.