Bled, Slovenia, 8 September 2019 – European anglers were gathered at Lake Bled in Slovenia for the General Assembly of the European Anglers Alliance (EAA). This was a special occasion, celebrating 25 years of cooperation to promote recreational fisheries and to protect the aquatic environment and fish stocks across Europe.
During the inaugural session of the General Assembly, the history of the EAA was retraced by Peter Mohnert, one of the co-founders and first presidents of the organisation. Fred Bloot, the current EAA President took stock of the past achievements and reflected on the future in this important year of political changes:
“Over the past 25 years we have acquired a strong position in Brussels. We did so thanks to our alliance and willingness to work together across different countries, but also thanks to the unique and solid partnership we built with the European Fishing Tackle Trade Association (EFTTA). Working also with the scientific community and NGOs has been key in asserting ourselves as credible interlocutors of the EU institutions”.
To celebrate this anniversary several special guests were invited to the General Assembly. The Mayor of Bled, Mr. Janez Fajfar, welcomed the anglers and said that recreational fishing is one of the most sustainable sports adding that, “anglers adore and preserve nature. It is our task, together, to preserve nature and boost the local economy”. The Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Ms Aleksandra Pivec, added that “anglers’ role in protecting indigenous species is key” and acknowledged the importance of recreational fisheries for the Slovenian economy.
Looking to the future, Fred Bloot underlined that European anglers must also remain grounded in European society: “Beyond the legislative and regulatory challenges that we face, we must not forget our foundations. In a changing society, we must show that our work in Europe benefits all, in terms of health, well-being, conservation of the environment, economic outcomes and social cohesion. Without wide support of anglers in our society, we are nowhere”.
The EAA will remain committed to achieving a full and fair recognition of the recreational fisheries sector in EU legislation and will continue to advocate for more sustainable fisheries management as well as strong protection for vulnerable fish species, biodiversity, freshwater and marine ecosystems and habitats.