In recent years, aquaculture has grown substantially in the world and particularly in the EU where it is important for providing a variety of fish products for the consumer. In addition, this sector helps reduce the great imbalance in the EU between imports of fish products and exports. It also creates jobs in difficult coastal and rural areas with few other industries and limited alternatives for employment.
However, the EU is highly dependent on fishmeal imports for feed production to meet the needs of the expanding aquaculture sector. This dependence imposes a heavy economic burden on the Community. At the same time, the general trend has been for the fishmeal supplies and prices to fluctuate widely. Recently, the El Nino phenomenon served as a reminder of the heavy fluctuations and risks involved in the availability of fishmeal. Moreover, recent concerns over the dioxin levels in fish-meals and the consumer health risks have aggravated the situation.
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