More and more citizens are concerned about the state of our seas and the depletion of fish stocks. We owe it to them to provide the most accurate and comprehensive information possible so that they are aware of the impact that their choices have.
Through EU control rules, a traceability system “from the net to the plate” is already in place. EU funded projects contribute to create new traceability tools based on genetics, genomics and forensic techniques: it sounds like science fiction, but we do have the technology to determine exactly where each fish comes from and, just like it’s done in crime detection, we might decide to use modern molecular technology to spot fraud in our sector.
The Commission proposal for the Common Fisheries Policy reform foresees further steps. Firstly to indicate the date of catch on the label, at least for fresh products, would be an objective parameter of the freshness of the fish we are buying. Also it would give a competitive advantage to EU small-scale fisheries without being a significant burden for our fishermen, as they already record that information.
Moreover, specifying the commercial name, the production method and the provenance, would respond to the growing public demand for substantial information about preserved and prepared products. This information contributes to creating a level playing field, again without imposing any additional red tape on operators. Let’s hope that the Council and the Parliament through the trilogues will keep this high level of consumer information.
Consumers are the driving force of substantial change towards transparency and sustainability. The proposal to reform the EU Common Fisheries policy is not only happening for them but also through them, thanks to their support.