The Aquaculture Advisory Council appoints a new Chair and Management team

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The annual General Assembly (GA) of the European Aquaculture Advisory Council (AAC) took a few days ago and at this occasion, its members chose Brian Thomsen as Chair for the next three years to come. Thomsen has represented the Danish Aquaculture Organization in the AAC since the creation of this European Union (UE) consultative body on aquaculture matters. Since 2017, he has assumed the Vice-Chairmanship of the AAC Horizontal Affairs Working Group and its Chairmanship since 2019. This Working Group has been issuing several important recommendations affecting all types of aquaculture activities.

After the news was released, Thomsen said: “My predecessor, Javier Ojeda, has done an outstanding job as AAC Chair. He has decided to step down and I am honored to be appointed. We have a very competent and dedicated secretariat and the AAC members have repeatedly demonstrated their ability to provide answers to complex issues. I am committed to further strengthening and developing the AAC and I am confident that we will deliver.”

“The AAC also appointed Paul Denekamp (Vissenbescherming) as 1st Vice-Chair, Philipe Le Gal (Comité National de la Conchyliculture) as 2nd Vice-Chair and Addy Risseeuw (PO Mosselcultuur) as Treasurer for the period 2022-2025.”

The European Aquaculture Advisory Council provide advice to the European Commission and Member States on any new legislative, regulatory or legal measure at European or national level that affects aquaculture. Their recommendations include the opinions of stakeholders in EU aquaculture, both of sector organization and of other interest groups.

Ambitious conclusions

This edition of the annual General Assembly was marked by a keynote speech by Tomáš Vacenovský, Agricultural affairs Attaché at the Permanent Representation of the Czech Republic before the European Union. The Czech Presidency adopted indeed some ambitious EU Council conclusions in July 2022 that were presented to the audience.

A video intervention by the European Parliament’s Member in charge of the Initiative report on the new Strategic Guidelines, Clara Aguilera, informed the members that the European Parliament will also back the EU institutional support for the development of sustainable aquaculture in Europe. The vote on her report has been postponed to the October I European Parliament Plenary Session.

The renewal of the Working Group Chairs and Vice-Chairs will take place in Brussels during the next session of Working Group meetings, that will be between 4 and 5 October of this year.

About the Aquaculture Advisory Council

Advisory Councils are bodies of EU interest, created by the Common Fisheries Policy Regulation (EU) No 1380/2013. As the Aquaculture Advisory Council, they provide advice to the European Commission and Member States on any new legislative, regulatory or legal measure at European or national level that affects aquaculture.

“Our Recommendations include the opinions of stakeholders in EU aquaculture represented with the following repartition: 60% sector organizations (aquaculture producers, feed, veterinarians, trade unions, etc.) and 40% of other interest group (environment, consumers, animal welfare organizations, among others).”

Their General Assembly and Executive Committee are guided by the advice generated by their three working groups on Finfish, Shellfish and Horizontal issues.

The entity also organizes activities such as the one held last July, a webinar on the new European Maritime, Fisheries and Aquaculture Fund (EMFAF). At the meeting, DG MARE expert Vincent Guerre presented the functioning of the EMFAF, with the competences shared by the European Commission and the Member States and the different steps for the approval and financing of the ‘operations’ (administrative name of the project proposals).

A very interesting discussion between DG MARE’s expert and the AAC members followed the presentation, with the Commission answering questions on e.g., the use of the financial instrument by Member States, the eligibility of funding for research, marketing and innovation activities, the allocation of direct management funds, the support to Recirculating Aquaculture Systems, the link between EMFAF and national aquaculture plans and the possibilities for funding trans-national projects.

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