On the 6th of June, the EU Council of Ministers adopted the first multi-annual management plan for fisheries in the Western Mediterranean Sea. The plan is generally aimed at restoring demersal fish stocks in the area, as they have been overexploited for a long time with several of them being on the brink of collapse.
The final wording of the plan is a positive achievement for the European Anglers Alliance (EAA) and the European Fishing Tackle Trade Association (EFTTA) as a previous version, adopted by the European Parliament Fisheries Committee, did not take recreational fisheries properly into consideration but included some discriminatory wording towards the sector.
The EAA and EFTTA reacted by sending a formal letter to the relevant decision-makers to firmly defend the position of the recreational fisheries sector and to protect the huge socio-economic contribution it provides to the Mediterranean regions.
The final regulation, agreed in February by the co-legislators, has now been adopted by the Council of Ministers. Very positively, the final text is more balanced. It takes duly into account the jobs and the economy supported by the recreational fisheries sector to the benefit of the coastal communities. The socio-economic side of recreational fisheries now has to be taken into account before restrictions are imposed. The plan also invites Member States to collect more data on recreational fisheries catches1.
This is the second piece of EU legislation which takes into account the socio-economic aspects of recreational fisheries. The other legislation concerns the plan covering the Western Waters. The EAA and EFTTA hope that from now on, the recreational sector will be treated on an equal footing with commercial fisheries by the EU decision-makers.
The regulation will enter into force 20 days after its publication on the Official Journal of the European Union. The text is available here.
1. In this regard it is worth noticing the EU funded contract for an electronic log-book system (with tendering deadline 9 August 2019). The contractor shall “in particular highlight elements for improving the current control measures of recreational catches of sea bass in the Atlantic, Western cod and Atlantic salmon in the Baltic sea and blackspot seabream in the Mediterranean Sea.”