EU pilot project on recreational fisheries control finally underway

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06 Mar

The pilot project funded by the European Commission to implement a control scheme for recreational fisheries catches of selected species is underway. The European Anglers Alliance (EAA) and the European Fishing Tackle Trade Association (EFTTA) welcome this project as it will gather more data on recreational fisheries and better data will support better management. EAA and EFTTA will therefore assist the project team to attain its goals. The project will be conducted and finalised in 2020.

Last year, the company Halieuticom (publisher of the FishFriender catch application) won the project issued by the European Commission for the management of recreational fishing for sea bass in Europe, the "Control Scheme for Recreational Catches of Sea Bass". 

Although the tender was initially designed only for sea bass, the project now covers different species (European seabass, Atlantic salmon, Atlantic cod, black spotted sea bream). Its main aim is to reinforce the control and monitoring of recreational catches and to make sure that recreational fisheries continue to be compatible with the CFP goals. The project will evaluate the existing control and monitoring measures and tools and will propose clear recommendations and guidelines on how to improve these along the lines of best practices. The project will develop and test IT applications to ensure an efficient monitoring of recreational fisheries and its catches while supporting recreational fishers’ activities. 

Representatives from the EAA and the EFTTA are following closely the development of the project and are engaging with the leading team to provide input and assistance. In order to better understand anglers’ expectations about recreational fisheries catch reporting, a survey has been launched and disseminated to all EAA members. 

This project is the result of an initiative of former MEP Alain Cadec who, back in 2018, proposed a pilot project to be financed by the European Commission in order to establish better management and control measures for recreational fisheries in the framework of the Control Regulation and future multiannual management plans. During his work for parliament, Alain Cadec has also been an active supporter of the European Parliament Forum on Recreational Fisheries and Aquatic Environment. 

The EAA and EFTTA expect that the pilot project will support better decision making and management of marine recreational fisheries. This should open the doors for a more flexible management that will serve the different needs of sea anglers. For species under conservation measures such as seabass, this could translate into a choice to anglers how to manage their catches: via a monthly bag limit or via a daily bag limit. EAA and EFTTA fully expect that this project and the collected data from the methods that are being investigated will contribute to a better understanding of the real impact of recre¬ational fisheries on fish stocks. This in turn will help avoid the imposition of unfair management measures in the future. 

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