With the dialogue on wasteful fish discards well underway, Maria Damanaki has set her sights on country of origin labelling of seafood as the new frontier for an improved seafood supply chain.

At present, there is no requirement to provide detailed country-of-origin information on seafood products other than labelling by sea area, such as 'North-East Atlantic'.

But speaking at a public hearing organised by the Group of the European People's Party in the European Parliament last week, Damanaki said the Commission intended to push for labelling to go beyond generic references to give clearer and more precise information. It also wanted to extend the requirements to canned and processed seafood, she added.

Consumers needed guidance on the vast array of seafood products, she told delegates. "Is this product fresh? Where was it caught? Was it fished sustainably and traded fairly? They want to know," she said.

Technological advances coupled with recent EU initiatives such as the illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing regulations had already done much to improve the traceability of seafood sold in the EU.

There was therefore a compelling case for more information to be made available, Damanaki added.

"We, on our end, have the responsibility to guarantee transparent and accurate labelling, both legal and voluntary, just as we have the responsibility to safeguard wild resources from over-exploitation," she said.

However, the FDF warned against providing consumers with too much information. "It's got to be proportionate and contribute to genuine consumer choice," said Andrew Kuyk, director of sustainability and competitiveness.

Damanaki acknowledged that provision of information and labelling was a sensitive issue, but said: "I do not intend to back down".

She added that it was a key ­aspect of the upcoming Common Market Organisation reform.