Recently, the European Parliament adopted MEP Marco Affronte’s report “on the status of fish stocks and socio-economic situation of the fishing sector in the Mediterranean”. The report stresses the socio-economic importance of recreational fisheries and the importance of taking it into consideration when managing fisheries.
The Mediterranean Sea is in a dire strait due to pollution, climate change and overfishing. It has been estimated that 41% of its marine mammals and 34% of its fish population have been lost while 93% of the assessed fish stocks are overexploited.
Concerning overfishing, in March a declaration was signed by Mediterranean ministerial representatives from both northern and southern coastlines the MedFish4Ever Declaration. It includes a 10-year strategy to rebuild the fish stocks. In this regard the adoption of MEP Affronte’s report provides new inputs and reiterates the commitment of the European Union towards protection of the Mediterranean Sea basin.
It is worth noting, that the Parliament supports the introduction of quotas in the Mediterranean Sea fisheries. Today, most fisheries in the Mediterranean Sea basin are managed by input controls only, not by quotas.
EAA and the tackle trade (EFTTA) are happy, that recreational fishing has been given careful consideration. Some examples:
● “L. whereas recreational fishing is of socio-economic value in many regions of the Mediterranean and has both a direct and an indirect impact on employment;”
● “8. Observes that the influence of recreational fishing on stocks and its socio-economic potential in the Mediterranean have not been sufficiently studied; considers that, in future, data should be gathered on the number of recreational fishermen, the volume of their catches and the value added by them in coastal communities;”
● “9. Notes that recreational fishing generates a high economic revenue for the local communities, through activities like tourism, and has a low environmental impact and should thus be encouraged;”
In fact, commercial fishing has very little development potential for years to come in this overfished sea. Recreational rod and line fishing (angling) provides the biggest economic output and jobs per fish exploited with little impact on the environment, which should be duly taken into account when rebuilding the fish stocks. Furthermore, recreational rod and line fishing can be used strategically to extend the tourism season. Thus recreational rod and line fishing should be given the highest priority when more jobs and businesses are wished for in the short term.
The Resolution as adopted is available here in all EU languages.