On the 21st of November, the PECH Committee of the European Parliament held a first exchange of views on MEP Norica Nicolai’s draft for a resolution on the ‘state of play of recreational fisheries in the European Union’.
MEP Nicolai spoke about the millions of people in the EU enjoying recreational fishing, which generate a multi-billion socio-economic value. However, there are a number of issues in need to be addressed by the legislators urgently, among other things:
•The lack of reliable and robust catch- and socio-economic data for fisheries management.
•Too little knowledge about the importance of recreational fishing for tourism and local communities.
•The lack of a clear definition of recreational fisheries.
•That recreational fishing is a significant contributor to ‘the Blue Economy’, as it supports and generates jobs and economy not only nationally but in particular in many local coastal communities, but this often goes unnoticed.
MEP Nicolai’s draft resolution was received positively by other MEPs present, who agreed with her that there is an urgent need for more and better data on this sector, both catch and socio-economic data.
Ms Nicolai also made it clear, that recreational fisheries ought to be included the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) at the next reform, to be managed and developed alongside the commercial fisheries and aquaculture sectors. Several of her colleges commented positively about that suggestion.
MEP Alain Cadec, the Chair of the Fisheries Committee, took this opportunity to mention the Commission’s proposal for a total ban on sea bass angling next year, which he finds is based on a science model, which doesn’t reflect the reality very well. A ban would be too drastic for the recreational sector, also from an economic point of view.
Mr Cadec has secured the Parliament’s support to do a bass pilot project (300,000 Euros), which would provide more and better data on recreational catches of sea bass.
EEAA and EFTTA have launched a petition against the bass fishing ban, which you can read and sign: here.