Biodiversity Strategy: the PECH Committee is taking a step in the right direction

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27 Apr

On 17 March, the Fisheries (PECH) Committee of the European Parliament adopted its opinion on the “EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030: Bringing nature back into our lives.” The PECH Committee opinion should inform the work of the Environment (ENVI) Committee which is leading on this file.

The opinion focuses mainly on the Biodiversity Strategy’s objectives related to fisheries, including to legally protect a minimum of 30% of the EU’s sea area and to strictly protect at least a third of the protected areas. It also makes some recommendations for the upcoming Commission’s Action plan to conserve fisheries resources and protect marine ecosystems.
 
Echoing the conclusions of the Council adopted in October 2020, which highlighted that the stricter level of protection may allow for certain human activities, the PECH Committee went further and recognised that establishing Marine Protected Areas does not have to be incompatible with the practice of some sustainable activities, including extractive ones.

While the European Commission recommends categorising recreational fishing, including angling, as an extractive activity that should not be allowed in strictly protected areas, the PECH opinion callson the Commission to distinguish between different types of fishing gear and to take into account fishing efforts instead of adopting a blanket approach by sector to determine which activity should be restricted.

EAA and EFTTA have emphasised that recreational angling can be a very selective activity, and, in the case of catch-and-release, even a non-extractive one. Furthermore, as highlighted in the EAA position paper on Marine Protected Areas, recreational angling fits and support very well the objectives of the MPAs.

The ENVI Committee has the lead on this file and will have the last word on this parliamentary report on the Biodiversity Strategy adopted by the Commission last May. The EAA hopes that César Luena, the ENVI Committee Rapporteur, will take into account the recommendations of the PECH Committee in his report.
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