The European Parliament asks for a fair management of recreational fisheries in the EU

Wednesday 16 May 2018

A report from the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament demands to the European Commission to evaluate the role of recreational fisheries in the next Common Fisheries Policy so that both types of fishing, commercial and recreational, are managed in a balanced, fair and sustainable way.

The initiative (non-binding) report entitled “State of play of recreational fisheries in the European Union” drafted by MEP Norica Nicolai, Chair of the Forum on Recreational Fisheries and Aquatic Environment, has been adopted by the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament yesterday with very positive messages recognising the importance of recreational fisheries in Europe. The European Parliament is supposed to adopt it during the June plenary session.

The publication of the first draft of the report has been followed by an event that took place in the European Parliament in January, entitled “State of play of recreational fisheries in the EU - The anglers’ point of view & the importance of recognition of recreational fisheries at the EU level”. Several MEPs were present, including the rapporteur and the shadow rapporteurs, several representatives of the European Commission and of the EU Member States. On this occasion, the representatives of the European anglers reiterated the necessity to include the recreational sector in the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) on an equal footing with the other stakeholders as it is instrumental in achieving the policy’s main goals, and notably the long-term sustainable management of stocks.

In terms of impact on the European economy, it is estimated that marine recreational fisheries generate 10.5 billion EUR annually and support around 99.000 full-time equivalent jobs. This is why it is positive that the report calls for data collection to be improved and done in a regular way in order to draw a clearer picture of the recreational sector’s impact and significance. Furthermore, data collection should be expanded to encompass more fish stocks and to cover the socio-economic impact of the sector too. As an important contributor to the blue economy, the development of recreational fishing in the tourism sector must also be further supported. In this regard, the report suggests to the European Commission to designate recreational fishing as a theme of the EDEN sustainable tourism project year or to fund projects via the COSME program.  

The report raises an important number of questions starting from the need to establish a clear and uniform definition for recreational fisheries at the EU level, the acknowledgement that the different recreational fishing methods should be evaluated individually as they have a different impact on the environment and calls for an improved system of reporting and monitoring of catches. To this end, the pilot project «Control scheme for sea bass recreational catches», included in the 2018 EU budget, is mentioned with the hope that the Commission and the Member States will fund similar projects in the future.

To improve fisheries management, the European Commission is asked to integrate marine recreational fisheries into multiannual management plans in an appropriate way, and notably by taking into consideration the social and economic aspects of the sector.


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