This week, the Members of the European Parliament gathered in Strasbourg for the monthly Plenary session and adopted a report by Renata Briano entitled “The role of fisheries-related tourism in the diversification of fisheries”.
Although the promotion of recreational fishing was not the main objective of the report, it includes some good calls for action to the European Commission that were introduced on the basis of EAA input and thanks to some supportive MEPs. In particular, the report:
4. Calls on the Commission to promote, through the European Travel Commission and its portal visiteurope.com, sustainable recreational fishing tourism destinations in Europe, and, by means of a targeted information campaign, to make fishing businesses aware of the potential of these new and sustainable business models and of the growth opportunities they afford;
8. Considers it necessary, therefore, to set up a European tourism fishing network, and a European network for tourist services related to sport/recreational fishing, following the highly successful example of FARNET, which offers considerable help to FLAGs;
12. Highlights the importance of distinguishing between the various forms of fisheries-related tourism, which include fishing tourism (pesca-tourism and itti-tourism), maritime and coastal water-based activities, recreational fishing (including angling tourism), inland fishing, and activities based on heritage and culture that are geared towards creating synergies with marketing initiatives for high-quality primary products, while respecting the natural heritage and the need to ensure animal protection and biodiversity;
57. Calls on the Commission to analyse the socio-economic impact of recreational fishing on inland tourism, in particular in rural areas, and to propose possible measures for regions where the potential for such fishing is underexploited;
The report’s main focus is on diversifying commercial fishermen’s activities into various forms of fishing-tourism closely related to commercial fishing mostly. We, EAA and EFTTA, would have preferred a more detailed presentation of the recreational angling tourism sector, which is big and has a huge growth potential that deserves to be promoted in its own right. Many anglers are willing to travel long distances to experience exciting fishing, all year round. And they often bring their family with them.
The Commission has delivered a response to the report already. It shows a good understanding of recreational angling’s importance for coastal communities that rely on tourism. Vice President of the European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis stated that: “Tourism employs over 3.2 million people and generates a total of € 183 billion in gross value added. It represents over one third of the maritime economy. An important part of that is marine recreational fisheries which is becoming increasingly important for many coastal communities that rely on tourism. Our 2014 Coastal and Maritime Tourism Strategy - which you have also mentioned - considers recreational fishing as one of the options for diversifying the touristic offer and to help address the issue of seasonality…” Good fishing can attract anglers to the most remote places all year round!
The text of the resolution is available here.