Recreational fishing in EU legislation


Recreational fisheries have been defined in some pieces of EU legislations, although not in the Common Fisheries Policy. For example, the Regulation (EU) 2017/1004 on data collection gives the following definition: “’recreational fisheries’ means non-commercial fishing activities exploiting marine biological resources for recreation, tourism or sport.” 

Recreational fishing and angling are also mentioned in other pieces of EU legislation. Some examples: 

Council Decision of 19 July 2004 establishing Regional Advisory Councils under the Common Fisheries Policy - Article 1(3): ‘Other interest groups’ shall mean, amongst others, environmental organisations and groups, aquaculture producers, consumers and recreational or sport fishermen. 
 
● The Control Regulation (2009) - Chapter V - Control of recreational fisheries - Article 55 - Recreational fisheries 
 
● The Common Fisheries Policy (2013) recognises that “recreational fisheries can have a significant impact on fish resources and Members States should, therefore, ensure that they are conducted in a manner that is compatible with the objectives of the CFP.” 
 
Regulation (EU) No 508/2014 on the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund supports the collection, management and use of data, including for at-sea monitoring of recreational fisheries. 
 
In recent years, and for the first time, the Commission took into account the socio-economic aspects of recreational fisheries: 
Furthermore, while there is no explicit mention of recreational fishing in ‘Commission delegated regulation (EU) 2015/242 of 9 October 2014 laying down detailed rules on the functioning of the Advisory Councils under the Common Fisheries Policy’ (2014). However, recreational fishing (recreational angling/sportfishing) is still accepted and represented in the ‘Other interest groups’ as it has been the case since 2004. The European Anglers Alliance participates in 5 Advisory Councils (Mediterranean Sea, North Sea, Baltic Sea, Aquaculture, North-western waters).

Data collection

Commission Regulation (EC) No 1639/2001:
Chapter III - Parameters - "data collection must make it possible to assess: catches from recreational and game fisheries in marine waters for stocks mentioned in Appendix XI,"
Complementary parameters - "catches from game and recreational fisheries for stocks other than those mentioned in Appendix XI, for salmon, the catches taken in estuaries, lakes and rivers in the geographical area of the Baltic Sea and the North Sea."

Regulation (EU) 2017/1004 on the establishment of a Union framework for the collection, management and use of data in the fisheries sector and support for scientific advice regarding the common fisheries policy: it recognises that “it is important to “collect biological data on recreational fisheries where there is a potentially significant impact on the state of the stock, in order to enable ecosystem-based management and conservation as necessary for the operation of the common fisheries policy, as well as to improve stock assessment.”

Mediterranean Sea

Council Regulation (EC) No 1967/2006 concerning management measures for the sustainable exploitation of fishery resources in the Mediterranean Sea
Article 2(8): ‘leisure fisheries’ means fishing activities exploiting living aquatic resources for recreation or sport;
Article 17 - Leisure fisheries: Rod and line (angling) is permitted but (Art 17(1)):
"The use of towed nets, surrounding nets, purse seines, boat dredges, mechanised dredges, gillnets, trammel nets and combined bottom-set nets shall be prohibited for leisure fisheries.
The use of longlines for highly migratory species shall also be prohibited for leisure fisheries."

Recent answers to Members of Parliament's questions to the European Commission on recreational fisheries

-On an European regulation on recreational fishing, by MEP Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (27 February 2020)
-On multiannual management plans and recreational fisheries by MEPs Niclas Herbst, Manuel Pizzaro and Søren Gade (3 April 2020)
-On a single EU recreational and sports fishing licence and reinvigoration of related tourism by MEP Maria Grapini (5 April 2020)

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