This week, the Council of the European Union has adopted a regulation aimed at improving the collection, management and use of data in the fisheries sector.
The aim of the new regulation is to align EU rules with the objectives of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), including the protection of the marine environment, the sustainable management of all commercially exploited species, and in particular the achievement of good environmental status in the marine environment by 2020. The Regulation simplify and strengthen the current system for the collection of biological, environmental, technical and socio-economic data in the fisheries sector.
However, during the legislative process the European Anglers Alliance (EAA) and the European Fishing Tackle Trade Association (EFTTA) urged the inclusion of recreational socio-economic data in the scope of the regulation. This plea was supported by the European Parliament. Unfortunately, the Council didn’t agree to that. Only this data is required on recreational fisheries, Recital 16:
“It is important to collect biological data on recreational fisheries where there is a potentially significant impact on the state of the stock, in order to enable ecosystem-based management and conservation as necessary for the operation of the Common Fisheries Policy, as well as to improve stock assessment.”
So, recreational fisheries’ poor standing within the EU’s fisheries management and data collection provisions remain the same: recreational fisheries are only of real interest if there is "a potentially significant impact on the state of the stock”. Notwithstanding, that it is exactly in that circumstance that socio-economic data is crucial knowledge for the managers and decision makers to be able to make wise and sound decisions about access to fisheries and allocation of fishing opportunities across the fisheries sectors and segments.
At the beginning of March, the Forum on Recreational Fisheries and Aquatic Environment organised an event that took place in the European Parliament to demonstrate the socio-economic value of the recreational fisheries sector and the importance of collecting such data to the benefit of fisheries management and angling dependant businesses. The EU institutions were called upon again by EAA and EFTTA to find the resources needed to make it possible to conduct a comprehensive EU-wide socio-economic study on recreational fishing every five years, as it is done in the USA for more than 60 years.
● More information about the event “Sustainable fisheries management and recreational sea fisheries - socio-economic value, data collection and data use in EU & US management”, including agenda, presentations and a complete report of the discussions, is available here.
● More information about the adoption of the text by the Council is available here.
● The latest published version of the agreed text of the Data Collection Regulation is available here
(but check the text against the final version, which will be published later in the Official Journa