Spanish anglers hope new government will change invasive species rules

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25 Nov

In March 2016, the Spanish Supreme Court ruled that a Spanish list of invasive alien species should be extended. The case was brought to court by an environmental NGO. Currently, some fish species of angling interest are deemed as being invasive aliens in Spain e.g. rainbow trout, carp, pike and black bass. It is worth noting that none of these fish species are on the European List of Invasive Alien Species.

The Spanish angling community is extremely worried about the Court ruling. It will do untold harm to recreational angling and its billion EUR dependant businesses in Spain. It could put an end to recreational freshwater angling in Spain as we know it, one of the most popular leisure activities in the country. 

A huge protest rally and a study of the consequences 

The court ruling stands so the legislation needs to be changed to correct this matter. Some 300,000 people took to the streets of Madrid on the 5th of June in a push for a change to the legislation. 

ASPA, the Spanish association of fishing tackle industry (Asociación de Distributores de Artículos de Pesca) has ordered a study about the environmental, socio-economic and legal consequences of the court ruling. The study is now finalised and can be downloaded here: 

- Summary: in Spanish – in English (rough translation).
- The full report (150 pages)

The report concludes among other things that carp was introduced in Spain centuries ago and should be deemed as being ‘naturalised’ today, not as an invasive alien species; and that rainbow trout should not be considered as an ‘invasive alien’ in a strict sense as it presents no threat to the native common trout. 

Socio-economic impact 

The report estimates that fishing licenses could decrease by 35 to 60 per cent which would result in a devastating impact on the whole sector, reducing it by 50 to 80 per cent. Around 5,000 jobs could be lost. When taking tourism into account the total economic loss exceeds one billion euros. 

Both the European Anglers Alliance (EAA) and the European Fishing Tackle Trade Association (EFTTA) urge the legislation to be changed as soon as possible. They warmly welcome the recent declaration of Mrs. Tejerina, the newly-appointed Minister for the Environment, who called on the Parliament during her inaugural speech to modify the Spanish legislation in this regard. 

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