MEP Niclas Herbst, new Chair of the Forum on Recreational Fisheries and Aquatic Environment (RecFishing Forum), hosted the forum’s first conference in the new term of the European Parliament. Representatives from the European Fishing Tackle Trade Association (EFTTA) and the European Anglers Alliance (EAA) outlined the challenges that the recreational fisheries sector is facing. Olivier Portrat, the newly appointed EFTTA CEO, said there were over 8.7 million sea anglers in Europe who generate EUR10.5 billion yearly with their expenditure (fishing equipment, services, fishing trips, etc.). The sector supports around 100,000 jobs in the European Union. In addition, angling contributes to people’s health and quality of life. He said the high socio-economic value of angling demanded better and more detailed data collection and added that an effective fisheries management program would not only generate more anglers in the future, it would also be of great benefit for structurally weak, rural areas. David Vertegaal, of the EAA, highlighted the contribution of anglers to the protection of the environment and to the EU green agenda and pointed out that marine recreational fisheries were not yet considered a separate sector in the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), preventing the sound and fair management of the sector. “The quality of the angling experience depends on healthy and flourishing fish stocks. Anglers are committed to sustainable fisheries. But we need a fair deal for recreational fisheries in the CFP, and that applies to the revision of the ongoing Fisheries Control system as well,” he stated. Maja Kirchner from DG MARE welcomed the anglers’ commitment to dialogue and commended their role in informing conservation measures taken by the EU. She emphasised the need to continue communicating, and to collaborate to get data on endangered species.
Recreational fisheries wants full recognition in the CFP
Anglers made the case at the European Parliament for full recognition of the recreational fisheries sector in the Common Fisheries Policy which, they said, was needed to properly manage public access to fish and to ensure the fair and sustainable management of fish stocks.