Albanian government backs seafood sector to pursue sustainability certification
To support sustainable practices in Albania’s seafood sector, the European country’s government has said it will cover 50 percent of the cost for companies to undergo the Friend of the Sea (FOS) certification audit.
Last month, FOS was invited by the Albanian Ministry of Rural Development and Aquaculture to attend meetings with institutions in Tirana and to lead a workshop about the certification with major Albanian enterprises operating in the sector.
A number of those companies have already shown their interest in applying for the audit, said the certification scheme.
“The Ministry is focused on promoting practices for responsible and sustainable fisheries and aquaculture. Support provided for FOS certification by the Albanian government aims to encourage this process,” said Roland Kristo, Albania’s vice-minister of agriculture and rural development.
Paolo Bray, founder and director of FOS, said the Albanian government’s decision would stimulate an improvement in the management of the Mediterranean stocks and the aquaculture practices.
“Albanian companies will benefit in terms of access to new markets,” he added.
The country catches around 6,000 metric tons (MT) of fish annually, with 35 to 40 percent accounted for by demersal species such as hake, red mullet and deepwater shrimp. Most of these products are exported fresh to markets such as Italy, Greece, and Macedonia.
Its aquaculture industry – built on species such as trout, carp, mussels, seabass and seabream – produces around 2,500 MT of products at present.