Q&A: EC director talks fisheries innovation

By

Chris Dove, SeafoodSource.com contributing editor, reporting from Malaga, Spain

Published on
November 10, 2009

Following this weekend’s Fisheries Innovation Conference in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, SeafoodSource asked Ernesto Peñas Lado — the European Commission director of fisheries and maritime affairs for the Black Sea, North Sea and landlocked member states — to share his outlook on Europe’s seafood industry. Here’s what he had to say:

Dove: Why is it important for Europe’s fisheries to continually invest in innovation? 
Lado: Given the dependence of the European fishing industry on limited natural resources and with competition from non-EU producers, innovation is key to the future of this industry, to its profitability and to sustainability. In this context, the European Fisheries Fund (EFF) as a financial instrument of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) may support measures in EU countries achieving objectives such as producing or marketing new products, developing innovative production methods, and the application of new technologies in processing and marketing sectors.

Especially for innovation in the fisheries sector, the EFF plays a very crucial role in making significant changes toward sustainable fisheries. An important element is to convince the banks of the long-term profitability of the sector.

What’s Spain’s role in developing innovative fishing and processing techniques or distribution and marketing activities? 
Spain is the top processor of fisheries and aquaculture products in the EU and thus innovation has played and continues to play a key factor in its competitiveness and its adaptation to market changes and consumer trends. Innovation efforts in the Spanish processing and marketing sector focus mainly on food safety, traceability, process technologies, conservation techniques, treatment and reutilization of byproducts, logistics and distribution, and commercial innovation. 
 
Innovative projects can be supported by regional, national or European financial instruments. A reference place to track examples of innovative efforts and developments applied to the processing and marketing sector is the Spanish Technology Platform for Fishing and Aquaculture (PTEPA), which brings fisheries sectors together in a joint strategy on R&D and innovation. They have recently published a fisheries and aquaculture technology catalog, which pools the work of various agents involved in these areas together with innovative actions particular to each sector.

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