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IP/01/1461

Brussels, 22 October 2001

Consumers to get more information on fisheries products

The European Commission has adopted a Regulation requiring more detailed information for consumers about fisheries and aquaculture products. From 1 January 2002, a number of details will have to feature on these products specifying their names, origin and method of production. "The aim of this measure is to boost consumer choice. The new labelling requirement will inform consumers about the production method, the area and the exact name of the product they buy. It will strengthen the traceability of fisheries products. Consumers will find it easier to choose their fisheries products according to the criteria which matter to them. Greater traceability will also facilitate the monitoring of fisheries products from the ship to the shop, enhancing conservation of fish stocks", Franz Fischler, Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Affairs and Fisheries said.

From 1 January of next year, all fisheries products on sale at retailers will have to be appropriately labelled with the following information

  • the commercial name of the species

  • the production methods, whether the product come from wild fisheries or aquaculture and

  • the area where the fish was caught.

The commercial designation or name of the species will be that established in each Member State. The addition of the scientific name is left to the discretion of the operators concerned.

The production method will be indicated according to one of the following: "caught in…", "caught in fresh water, "farmed" or "cultivated". Member States may decide whether this information is required when the commercial designation and the area of capture make it obvious that the fish was caught at sea.

With regard to the information on the area, products caught at sea will have to show the area from a defined list. Products caught in freshwater will require a reference to the Member State or third country of origin of these products. As for farmed products, the reference will be to the Member State or third country in which the product undergoes the final development stage. Operators may choose to provide additional information on the catch area.

To facilitate traceability, at all stages of the marketing process, fisheries products will have to be labelled or accompanied by a document indicating the three sets of information described above as well as the scientific name of the products.

Background

These rules are part of the Common Organisation of the Market in fisheries and aquaculture products establishing, among other things, common marketing standards to these products. This is to keep products of unsatisfactory quality off the market and to ensure fair competition for traders.

Given the widening variety of supply, the EU considers it essential to provide consumers with a minimum of information on the characteristics of the fisheries and aquaculture products. The new requirement will meet this need and also facilitate the checks on the quality of these products.


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