On 23 March, MEP Pierre Karleskind (France, Renew Europe Group), Chair of the European Parliament Fisheries Committee (PECH Committee) and MEP Niclas Herbst (Germany, EPP Group), Chair of the Forum, co-chaired the European Parliament Forum on Recreational Fisheries and Aquatic Environment webinar addressing the benefits and challenges of the inclusion of marine recreational fisheries in the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).
David Vertegaal, CFP Topic Owner at the European Anglers Alliance (EAA), underlined that the recreational fisheries sector perfectly matches the CFP objectives. Recreational fisheries support local communities, have little impact on habitats and fit in the Biodiversity Strategy. “We call for the full inclusion of marine recreational fisheries in the CFP, so that a level playing field will emerge for the millions of Europeans who enjoy the sustainable use of fish as a public resource”. Oliver Portrat, CEO of the European Fishing Tackle Trade Association (EFTTA), also recalled the relevance of the sector in socio-economic terms, underlining that its total economic impact is estimated to € 10.5 billion including 1.5 billion euros spent in angling tackle. “The recreational fisheries sector is too big to be ignored or mistreated by the CFP. Let’s not wait another 10 years to correct that”, he concluded.
MEP Pierre Karleskind, Chair of the Fisheries Committee, added that “fisheries are at the heart of the Common Fisheries Policy – all the fisheries. And we really need to have a comprehensive understanding of what happens at sea and on our coastlines.” He also mentioned the ongoing revision of the Fisheries Control Regulation which is essential to better monitor recreational fisheries and “a key step in the way the EU fisheries’ policy encompasses recreational fisheries.”
Bringing the commercial fisheries perspective to the table, Esben Sverdrup-Jensen, President of the European Association of Fish Producers Organisations, noted that commercial and recreational fisheries coexist very well and share a same set of values. He argued in favour of the inclusion of recreational fisheries in the CFP and insisted on the need to clearly define the sector’s different segments.
Dr. Harry Strehlow, Research Associate at the Thünen Institute of Baltic Sea Fisheries, gave an academic perspective. He called for a genuine acknowledgment and management of marine recreational fisheries in the CFP, taking the example of the U.S. Fishery Conservation and Management Act which acknowledges the sector in its goal, objectives and allocation framework. He finally said that "we cannot discuss blue economy and blue growth while ignoring the recreational fisheries sector."
“The outcome of today’s discussion is very clear: the recreational fisheries sector belongs in the CFP”, concluded Fred Bloot, President, European Anglers Alliance (EAA). He pointed out that this discussion should be reflected in the upcoming Fisheries Committee’s report on the future perspectives of the CFP and the Commission’s report on the functioning of the CFP, in particular the repeated requests of the European Parliament to look into the socio-economic impacts of the recreational fisheries sector.
Download the press release here