5 years of RecFishing Forum: main achievements and future priorities

By providing a cross-party discussion platform, the Forum on Recreational Fisheries and Aquatic Environment (RecFishing Forum) has been an essential tool for the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to establish a direct connection with the recreational fishing community, its network of scientists, in-house experts and other representatives of the sector in order to gather knowledge, information and data on the topics that were discussed in the European Parliament. On top of that, the Forum has ensured a close link between MEPs and other European decision-makers easing the policy and desicion making processes.

For marine recreational fisheries alone, a study commissioned by the European Parliament shows that there are around 9 million marine recreational fishers in Europe and their contribution to the European economy is estimated around 10.5 billion EUR annually, supporting close to 100,000 full-time equivalent jobs.

Throughout the last five years, the RecFishing Forum has organised 13 events to present the European recreational fisheries sector’s position on several key topics, such as the role of recreational fisheries in the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), the need for more and better data collection on the sector, recreational fisheries in Marine Protected Areas, sustainable management of sea bass, the state of the Danube river, the impact of hydropower on rivers’ ecosystems and the importance of maintaining an ambitious Water Framework Directive following its fitness check

Via the Forum, the recreational fisheries sectorhas provided input to a number of important files such as the Multiannual management plans, the Regulation on Fisheries Control, the Regulation on Technical Measures, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the Data Collection Framework Regulation

The RecFishing Forum has been instrumental in raising the profile of the recreational fisheries sector in the European Parliament and to acknowledge that recreational fishing is an important and low-impact activity that generates many socio-economic benefits and jobs in coastal, rural and remote areas. 

Through the Forum’s members and supporters, the interests of 25 million EU citizens participating in recreational fishing activities received the attention they deserve. Recreational fisheries are now better taken into account in EU legislation on relevant issues such as fish stocks management, fisheries technical measures, protection of biodiversity, improvement of the water quality, fostering the rural and coastal regions’ development through fishing tourism, etc. Furthermore, the information and data exchanged during the RecFishing Forum’s meetings have been useful to MEPs in their legislative work. The RecFishing Forum’s members and supporters have promoted some important initiatives during the past mandate, such as a pilot project to implement a control scheme for recreational catches of sea bass that will be fundamental in establishing better management and control measures for this iconic species and a European Parliament Resolution on the state of play of recreational fisheries in the European Union that provides a good overview of the importance of the sector and calls for its inclusion in the Common Fisheries Policy. 

Priorities for the next five years 

The RecFishing Forum will continue to provide high-level expertise to EU policy-makers on relevant issues and to give input to the legislative texts that have a direct impact on the aquatic environment, on the fish stocks and on the angling experience. 

Its main priority in the next term (2019 – 2024) will be to achieve a full and fair recognition of the recreational fisheries sector, on an equal footing with the other sectors exploiting fish stocks. A fair and proper inclusion of the recreational fisheries sector in the Common Fisheries Policy would bring additional and more reliable catch and socio-economic data, which are needed by the policy and decision makers to make informed decisions about access to fishing areas and fish stocks and to ensure the sustainable exploitation of fish stocks in the EU. 

The Forum remains committed to bring to the attention of European policy and decision makers the key topics of interest of the recreational fishing community such as the conservation of vulnerable fish species (European eel, seabass, Danube salmon, Baltic cod, etc.), the importance of data collection for recreational fisheries, the implementation of the Water Framework Directive, the protection of European rivers and the promotion of recreational fishing tourism. 


Julie Changivy
Telephone: +32 (0) 
2 720 00 73
Email: julie@eaa-europe.eu
Twitter: @RecFishingEP

European Parliament Forum on Recreational Fisheries and Aquatic Environment Events

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