Chaired by the President, Fred Bloot, the European Anglers Alliance General Assembly took place in Hamburg, Germany from 22 to 24 September 2022. The President recalled the importance of focusing on positive things and looking towards the future in these times of confrontations. The 28th General Assembly ended with a series of decisions directly related to current fishing regulations and to further strengthening the EAA’s network and capabilities to wisely represent the interests of anglers at the European level and across Europe.
Hosted by the German Association, Deutscher Angelfischerverband (DAFV) in Hamburg, a city in which ‘it is quite normal, when you walk around, to meet people in the subway or in the street holding a fishing rod and a landing net”, the General Assembly was the occasion for 24 representatives of recreational fishing associations from 10 European countries and to discuss about the sector’s priorities in Europe and exchange views with eminent scientists.
EAA President, Fred Bloot and Klaus-Dieter Mau, President of the DAFV
Instructive exchanges with scientists and decision-makers
As part of the consultations, the EAA had the opportunity to align its position with the latest research findings of leading scientists from the Thünen Institute or the University of Denmark (DTU Aqua).
Dr. Harry Strehlow, Dr. Simon Weltersbach, Kevin Haase and Dr. Niels Jepsen gave very informative presentations about the latest developments in cod and salmon, the effects of overprotected the Great cormorant on fish stocks and angler behaviour in the Baltic Sea and what conclusions stakeholders can draw from this for the future.
Martin Liebetanz-Vahldiek, responsible for fisheries in the Hamburg Senate Administration pled for a strengthened cooperation between administrations and angling associations and emphasized the importance of social recognition of angling.
Subgroups’ annual reports: key topics on the EAA agenda
The Chair of the Rivers Subgroup, Øyvind Fjeldseth, evoked the ongoing discussion about the revision of the EAA position paper on anglers’ participation in dam removal, the national positions on the issue of cormorants, and the EAA eel position paper expected to be updated.
Led by Markus Lundgren, the Sea Subgroup annual report underlined the major focus areas discussed, that included the inclusion of recreational fisheries in the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), keeping in mind the collision between CFP related goals and different nature legislations. One example being the coherence of Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY), a key management tool under the CPF, which does not align with the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) objectives. EAA’s participation in the advisory councils was also discussed. EAA now holds two vice-chair positions with Laura Pisano in the Mediterranean Advisory Council (MEDAC) and Glenn Douglas in the Baltic Sea Advisory Council (BSAC).
The General Assembly was also an opportunity to look at the activities undertaken, and results obtained with the European Commission and the European Parliament. Some of the key highlights were the participation of EAA in several key expert groups of the European Commission and the European Parliament’s hearings on data collection on recreational fisheries on the one hand and on cormorants on the other hand, in which EAA and EFTTA played a decisive role.
A renewed EAA Board
During the General Assembly, Mike Heylin stepped down as Board member and was warmly thanked and applauded by the President and the General Assembly members for all the work he achieved for the EAA.
Fred Bloot and David Mitchell were re-elected for the next three years, respectively as President and Coach in Brussels. Miroslav Zaberl was re-elected as Board member and remains Chair of the Communication Subgroup.
Leaving his position as secretary of the Sea Subgroup, Markus Lundgren was welcomed as new Board member and now chairs the Sea Subgroup.
The event was a complete success enlivened by constructive exchanges, new technical findings and forward-looking decisions to be implemented. It is now crucial to use all these tools and networks to best represent the interests of EAA.
The next General Assembly is expected to take place in August/September 2023 in Birmingham hosted by Angling Trust, the main anglers’ association in England and Wales.