The Market Advisory Council (MAC) delivered recommendations to the European Commission
on the 2023 European Year of Skills, an EU initiative to stimulate lifelong learning, empowering
people and companies to contribute to the green and digital transitions, supporting innovation
and competitiveness. To meet these objectives, the Commission will promote upskilling and
reskilling opportunities and organise events and awareness campaigns across the EU.
According to MAC members, the European Commission should:
− Set-up a roadmap to address the significant recruitment difficulties faced by the sector,
such as geographical distribution in coastal and rural areas, competition from other
activities, gaps in skills, salary levels, working conditions, training costs, vocational
training, attractiveness of the sector, dependency on workers from third countries.
− Ensure lifelong learning, upskilling and reskilling via the development of a cross-sector
scheme of accreditation for existing skills, the promotion of upskilling and reskilling
opportunities, formulation and adaptation of training, identification of career paths,
communication campaigns, and investment in vocational training centres.
− Promote awareness of skills relevant to the sector, such as safety on board and at
aquaculture farms, sustainability in production, fair business practices and international
contracts, products valorisation, digital skills, maintenance of production tools, and
business management, marketing and communication.
− Promote the attractiveness of the sector via measures for better awareness on the jobs,
removal of the negative image of the sector, better working conditions, increased
availability of housing and transport, development of production practices
(automatization, robotisation, digitisation) to remove arduous aspects inherent to the
− Engagement of fisheries and aquaculture stakeholders, including to increase awareness
on the Pact for Skills(flagship action to engage public and private organisations), to design
and implement training, upskilling and reskilling measures, and for higher attractiveness
of the sector among the younger generation and other potential workers.
− Facilitate access and take-up of available EU funding and assistance mechanisms (e.g.,
European Social Fund Plus, Horizon Europe, Erasmus+, EMFAF Blue Careers), including
through clarification sessions, improved readability of the mechanisms, better
communication – dissemination in the national languages of each Member State, and
identification of liaison officers in companies and sector associations.
Pierre Commère, Chair of Working Group 2 (EU Markets), highlighted: “Generational renewal
remains a challenge for the fisheries and aquaculture value chain. Therefore, the declaration of
2023 as the European Year of Skills provides an opportunity for the European Commission and the
EU Member States to tackle this problem as well as other recruitment difficulties and gaps in skills.
Members are hopeful that this initiative will lead to increased engagement with stakeholders,
ensuring easier access and use of public investment funds for skills development”.