On the 10th of October, the study “Marine recreational and semi-subsistence fishing - its value and its impact on fish stocks” - funded by the European Parliament - was presented to the Fisheries Committee of the European Parliament. The study delivers a good overview of the recreational fishing sector in Europe, including estimates on numbers, participation, expenditure, and activity by anglers in Europe, split into the Atlantic and Mediterranean regions.
The recreational fishing sector’s economic impact and jobs supported: “The total production contribution of MRF was estimated to be 10.5 billion euro and supporting 100,000 jobs” (FTEs, Full Time Equivalents).
The authors highlight the fact that it is difficult to assess the real impact of MRF on fish stocks, as data lack for this sector. Also, time series data are limited for most countries. MRF data are only included the stock assessment for sea bass and western Baltic cod.
The authors conclude that: “The marine recreational fisheries are biologically and economically important, so should be included in stock assessment to ensure sustainability, and considered a sector for development alongside commercial fisheries and aquaculture under the Common Fisheries Policy.”, which was stressed also by MEPs during the presentation of the study. Moreover, authors suggest that: “Marine recreational fisheries catches should be routinely included in stock assessments, as this allows impacts to be properly assessed and appropriate management strategies developed.”
The authors stress that: “A broad range of species are caught by marine recreational fisheries, yet mandatory data collection focusses on a small set of species.” And therefore “Further data collection is needed to develop understanding and should focus on country-specific multispecies surveys.”
The EAA welcomes this study and (most of) its recommendations. It reveals the unfortunate immense lack of (good) data on the marine recreational fishing sector, including tourism fishing, with suggestions to what needs be done.
The EAA has advocated for more than a decade the need for inclusion of the recreational fisheries sector in the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) on an equal footing with commercial fisheries and aquaculture. The EAA has also reiterated on several occasions, including during an event held in 2016 in the European Parliament, the need for conducting a comprehensive EU-wide socio-economic study on recreational fishing every five years in order to collect data on the sector and ensure that management decisions are evidenced-based.
This study “Marine recreational and semi-subsistence fishing - its value and its impact on fish stocks” brings scientific evidence and support behind our pleas.
The study can be downloaded from here.