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MCS Aquaculture Office, Dawn Purchase, has told the EU Fisheries Commission in Brussels that environmental sustainability is not a barrier to industry growth.

"A growing population of increasingly environmentally-aware seafood consumers creates the opportunity for the continued development of innovative, healthy seafood products in an environmentally, and therefore financially sustainable European industry."

Dawn was among a group of guest speakers and MEP's at a hearing on the Development of the Sustainable European Aquaculture industry, where questions were raised about the sustainability and the amount of wild fish needed to feed farmed fish.

She responded to a suggestion about the possibility of farming 'vegetarian fish, that have no requirement for this type of feed'. She told the meeting that UK retailers find it hard to convince consumers to eat fish like carp, but that encouraging celebrity chefs to use them could stimulate demand.

Dawn says she was delighted to be involved "MCS was the only NGO on the panel of experts invited to speak, and we welcomed the opportunity to represent the needs of the marine environment and concerned seafood consumers in the development of the future EU aquaculture industry."

The public hearing agreed the industry has to guarantee quality and also win political support. The discussion was part of the Milana report on the future development of European aquaculture, which will be put to a Fisheries Committee vote in April.

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