The Deutscher Angelfischerverband (DAFV), the EAA German member, has sent a letter to the German Government to voice its opposition to a potential ban on angling in Marine Protected Areas in the Baltic Sea and in the North Sea.
The German environment ministry ['Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz, Bau und Reaktorsicherheit (BMUB)'] has proposed to ban all angling activities in the Natura 2000 sites within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the Baltic Sea and in the North Sea. The DAFV, its associate members and the European Anglers Alliance (EAA) stress that such a ban is unfair and unjustified.
Any ban should be supported by a proper impact assessment. Such an assessment has not been made public. DAFV and EAA guess that the impact assessment is lacking because the ministry simply cannot find any evidence that angling is doing harm to the habitats or species, which the sites are designated to protect. Only very rarely there is a justifiable need to ban angling in a marine protected area. And almost always the ban would only concern a small part of the marine protected area, not the whole of it as suggested by the German environment ministry.
DAFV has written a letter to the Chancellor of Germany Ms Angela Merkel. DAFV and EAA hope that the Chancellor will bring her environment ministry back to reason.
In fact, anglers should be welcomed in marine protected areas. Most of these areas lack proper management. Poorly monitored and managed marine protected areas attract illegal fishers. Anglers provide “eyes and ears’ for free, which can compensate to some extent for lack of proper management of these areas, Furthermore, angling provides most welcome low impact, sustainable economic activity in and from marine protected areas.
The EAA advocates angling to be allowed in as many marine protected areas as possible. EAA encourages policy-makers to look at the way recreational activities and such areas are managed in e.g. in the United States. Indeed, the high socio-economic value of angling is well-acknowledged and the activity is very appreciated in the US:
● “MPAs in the U.S. encompass many purposes, and most allow recreational uses, including fishing, throughout their boundaries. Fully protected or “no take” MPAs that prohibit all extractive uses account for only a tiny percentage of U.S. waters.”
● “MPAs are a valuable tool for sustaining our nation’s fisheries. They allow fisheries to thrive by protecting sensitive habitats, conserving spawning areas, and restricting harmful impacts."
● "MPAs share conservation as a primary goal, but many were also established to encourage recreational uses. For example, under the National Marine Sanctuary Act, an area may be designated as a sanctuary if it is found to be of national significance, due in part to its recreational qualities and/or human-use values.”
More information is available here.