Hosted between 21 and 23 September by Angling Trust in Birmingham, England, EAA’s General Assembly gathered representatives from eight of the ten member associations: Denmark, Germany, Finland, Great Britain, Norway, the Netherlands, Austria and Sweden. Slovenia and Switzerland attended remotely.
During the Sea, freshwater and joint subgroups meetings, members had the opportunity to discuss key issues of concern for anglers in Europe.
Humpback salmon invading Europe and floods in Slovenia
In the Freshwater subgroup, the discussions focused on the invasion of humpback salmon in the Northern part of Norway.
Originally coming from the North American Pacific, the humpback salmon, also known as the “Russian salmon”, has invaded Europe since the 1950s due to Russian stocking activities. Since 2015, the Norwegian Angling Association has monitored a rapid increase in its population and therefore expresses great concern for the endemic species such as the Atlantic salmon, sea trout and char.
The subgroup also discussed the recent floods in Slovenia which directly affected colleagues and members of the Slovenian association. On the banks of the Savinja and Sava rivers, employees of the association lost their belongings and breeding facilities were damaged.
Offshore wind farms, what about recreational fishing?
In the Sea Subgroup, EAA members discussed the energy transition which could potentially impact fisheries in general. By building offshore wind farms and thus potentially generating electric fields, it could hinder the migration of certain species. However, positive effects such as the exclusion of bottom trawling and the creation of artificial reefs can also be expected. As such and following the expertise of the Swedish association on the topic, EAA members developed a position paper to demand the accessibility of wind farms areas for angling activities, payments to compensate for nature conservation projects and a limited duration for wind turbines.
Continued work on cormorants and fisheries management
The Joint Subgroup
continued its work on cormorants, with the adoption of a new position paper.
It contains crucial demands to ensure the mitigation of birds’ predatory pressure and thus maintaining stable fish stocks as well as healthy aquatic ecosystems in Europe.
EAA members have put on emphasis on considering:
- Age and size structures when defining fishing opportunities and conservation measures.
-Socio-economic contribution and the low impact of anglers.
-Combination of measures other than the catch limits
-All policies and legal acts aimed at sustainable fisheries.
This would allow to take more adequate and comprehensive fisheries management measures.
Angling Trust educational activities and UK government lobbying
During the General Assembly meeting, Angling Trust’s team gave very interesting presentations on their activities:
-the Missing Salmon Alliance
& the Salmon Charter
-lobbying in the UK after Brexit and the new Marine Act,
-the Reel education project
which provides schools with the opportunity to engage Angling Trust services for educational and awareness campaigns,
-Invasive alien species and the angling pathway plans to help prevent the introduction of alien species.