Bring recreational angling into the classroom, says EAA

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06 Aug

On 11 May 2021, the European Anglers Alliance (EAA) gave its input to the European Commission’s Roadmap on ‘Education for environmental sustainability’. As part of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, this initiative aims at the adoption of a Council Recommendation on education for sustainable development. The recommendation should help Member States strengthen policy development, learning, teaching as well as cooperation in the field of sustainability, in order to move towards a more resource-efficient society. EAA underlines the key role that recreational angling can play in this field.

A gap between awareness and action
According to a 2019 Eurobarometer survey, an overwhelming majority of Europeans are concerned about the loss of biodiversity and support stronger EU action to protect nature. Out of the more than 27000 interviewed citizens, 96% declared that “we have a responsibility” regarding nature protection and that “this is also essential to tackle climate change”. However, as mentioned within the Commission’s Roadmap, “Research indicates that, while protection of the environment is important to citizens personally and most expect EU action on this issue (…) experts also point to a gap between concern for the environment and taking action”. That gap that can be attributed to “low levels of understanding of environmental issues at stake, as well as a lack of attention to social, emotional or behavioural learning”.
Furthermore, available evidence from Member States points out that “integrating environmental sustainability into curricula, educational practice and pre- and in-service educator professional development and applying it to learning environments is not systematic. It is dealt with differently across the European Union”.

Recreational angling: a vector engagement in nature protection engagement

These educational objectives lie at the very heart of the recreational angling community. Attached to the importance of protecting nature in order to pass it on to the next generation, anglers do share these core values. According to Jan Kappel, EAA Secretary General, calls on the EU and member states to “bring recreational angling (rod & line fishing) into the classroom, and the pupils and teachers outdoor”. Within EAA’s feedback to the aforementioned consultation on the roadmap, he further adds that being out there, smelling and feeling nature increases one's understanding and interest in the environment and why it is important to protect it.
Last but not least, a plethora of best practices examples using recreational angling as an educational tool already exist. One of the examples given in the EAA’s feedback is the ‘KlassDraget 2021’ project in Sweden: local fishing associations help a school to arrange an outdoor day, around a fishing activity as central element. In that case, recreational anglers and a local tackle industry organisation sponsor kids with the appropriate equipment for the day.
Seize the opportunity to shape the recommendation
Further to the consultation on the roadmap, stakeholders now have the opportunity to take part in the open public consultation, which consists in a more detailed questionnaire aiming at informing the Recommendation. Drawing on these insights, the Commission will prepare a consultation’s report, which will be made available.
EAA calls on all anglers and citizens from the recreational fisheries community to make their voice heard throughout the consultation which remains opened until 24 September.

What are your insights on the link between recreational angling and education? Just like any citizen or association you can participate in the public consultation. To do so, click here.

Picture: (c) DAFV, Olaf Lindner
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