SUTHERLAND - The European Union pledged around 2.9 billion euro between 2001 and 2020 to support the development of aquaculture. Based on the Food and Agriculture Organisation's strong support for fish farming, European institutions plan to develop aquaculture in member states, in order to decrease imports of fish products, to produce food in a more sustainable way and to reduce overfishing and meat consumption.
Scotland and the Mediterranean countries have been at the centre of the growth of this industry, with salmon, sea bream and sea bass productions. The EU gave money to these industries, but so far -after 20 years- has failed to provide clear rules on sustainability. This lack of regulation allowed member states to support the industries without necessarily asking them to respect strict environmental standards.
The result is that all the countries where aquaculture has grown in recent years are now suffering similar environmental problems where the sea farms are based, especially with pollution, use of chemicals and damage to wildlife. That's why different communities and campaign groups are now fighting against projects to expand or set up new farms in Scotland, Greece and Italy.
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