Bass and other fishes – Western Waters Multi-Annual Management Plan adopted in Plenary

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25 Oct

Today, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on a Multi-Annual Management Plan for the Western Waters.

The European Parliament has adopted amendments to the Commission’s proposal for a Western Waters multi-annual management plan. The amendments, in the form of a resolution, was drafted by French MEP Alain Cadec, amended and adopted by the Fisheries Committee on the 9th of October and finally adopted by the Parliament's plenary today. The amendments will now be negotiated with the Council and Commission.

The Western Waters multi-annual plan is of great importance to recreational fisheries, and in particular important to the management of sea bass. The Parliament’s resolution suggests that both the northern and the southern sea bass stocks should be included the multi-annual management plan, as requested by the European Anglers Alliance (EAA) and the European Fishing Tackle Trade Association (EFTTA). Today, there are in force two different management schemes, one for southern and one for northern bass. The Commission’s proposal for this Western Waters multi-annual management plan only includes the northern bass. 

The Parliament’s resolution has other positives for recreational fisheries. It is suggested that if the Council decides to introduce management measures for a recreational fishery, objective criteria, including those of environmental, social and economic nature, shall be taken into account. If agreed by the Commission and the Council this would be the first time that recreational fisheries would be dealt with on an equal footing with commercial fisheries at the EU level. So far only the recreational catches have been of any real importance to the EU decision makers and managers. 

The resolution also clearly states that the landing obligation shall not apply to recreational fishing. The EAA and EFTTA have stressed for a long time that the landing obligation makes no sense at all to recreational angling – but maybe to some other recreational fisheries though. For example, anglers would be forced to transport one or a few fish to a processing plant far away from the fishing spot. And as anglers in most cases release fish with a ‘high survival rate’ angling could be exempted from the landing obligation for this reason alone. 

The EAA and the EFTTA would like to thank MEP Alain Cadec once again for his fine report and his support to recreational fishers, with the hope that the Council and the Commission will be as supportive so fair and equitable management of recreational fisheries at the EU level will be achieved. 

The adopted report as amended in plenary is available here.

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