European Parliament INI report on the State of Recreational Fisheries in the EU 

European Parliament study on Marine Recreational Fisheries

Recreational fisheries is gaining more and more attention in the European Parliament. In 2017, the Fisheries Committee commissioned a study to assess the value and impact of marine recreational fisheries in Europe. The study, entitled “Marine recreational and semi-subsistence fishing - its value and its impact on fish stocks” was presented to the Fisheries Committee on the 10th of October. The video recording of the meeting can be watched here

The study delivers a good overview of the recreational fishing sector in Europe, including estimates on numbers, participation, expenditure and activity by anglers, split into the Atlantic and Mediterranean regions. The authors evaluate that the total contribution of marine recreational fisheries (MRF) is 10.5 billion euro and that the sector supports 100,000 jobs FTE in Europe. Moreover, the study highlights the fact that it is difficult to assess the real impact of MRF on fish stocks, as data, including time series data, lack for this sector. The authors conclude that: “The marine recreational fisheries are biologically and economically important, so should be included in stock assessment to ensure sustainability, and considered a sector for development alongside commercial fisheries and aquaculture under the Common Fisheries Policy”. Moreover, the study suggests that: “Marine recreational fisheries catches should be routinely included in stock assessments, as this allows impacts to be properly assessed and appropriate management strategies developed.” 

European Parliament INI report on the state of Recreational Fisheries in the EU

Following the publication of the study, MEP Norica Nicolai presented her draft own-initiative report on “The state of Recreational Fisheries in the EU”. The draft report was debated for the first time during a meeting of the Fisheries Committee in November 2017 (video recording available here) and published later in December. A second exchange of view took place on the 24th of January and the video recording can be watched here
The draft report is available here

The Fisheries Committee amendments are available here.
The EAA and the EFTTA have followed closely the development of this important report that represents the European Parliament’s take on the recreational fisheries sector and stresses a number of important points:
  • The estimated economic impact of European marine recreational fisheries is EUR 10.5 billion, excluding the value of tourist fisheries; 
  • Marine recreational fisheries supports an estimated 99 000 full-time equivalent jobs (FTEs) in Europe; 
  • Data collection on maritime recreational fisheries is of vital importance to properly evaluate its impact and significance; 
  • Additional measures are needed to expand data collection for recreational fisheries to encompass more fish stocks and to make the collection of data on its socio-economic impact mandatory: 
  • The multiannual plans might not achieve the objectives of the CFP if reliable MRF data is not properly integrated; 
  • The development of recreational fishing in the tourism sector can be an important contributor to the development of the blue economy in small communities and coastal communities; 
  • Semi-subsistence fishing and semi-commercial fishing should be identified and regulated as either recreational or commercial fishing. If sales are allowed the fishing can only be termed commercial fishing as sales of recreational catches are forbidden (The Control Regulation Article 55(2)). 

Event of the EP Forum on Recreational Fisheries and Aquatic Environment

In order to facilitate the exchange of views between the sector and the policy-makers, the Forum on Recreational Fisheries and Aquatic Environment organised an event, entitled “State of play of recreational fisheries in the EU - The anglers’ point of view & the importance of recognition of recreational fisheries at the EU level” that took place on the 25th of January in the European Parliament and was co-chaired by MEP Norica Nicolai, MEP Werner Kuhn and MEP Ole Christensen. 

More information regarding the event, including the speakers’ presentations are available here

Latest developments and adoption of the Report:

The report was adopted by the Fisheries Committee on the 15th of May 2018, and finally adopted by the European Parliament’s plenary on the 12th of June 2018 by a large majority - 601 votes to 43 with 27 abstentions. It includes factual information about Europe’s recreational fisheries, and has some important requests on top of what is mentioned further above.

In particular: 

  • Asks the European Commission to evaluate the role of recreational fisheries in the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) “so that both types of maritime fishing – commercial and recreational – can be managed in a balanced, fair and sustainable manner with a view to achieving the desired objectives”; 

  • Acknowledges that the recreational fisheries contribution to the European economy is estimated - for marine recreational fisheries alone - around 10.5 billion EUR annually, supporting close to 100,000 full-time equivalent jobs

  • Requests for a clear and uniform definition of recreational fisheries at the EU level; 

  • Establishes that the different recreational fisheries segments should be evaluated individually as they have a different impact on the environment and the economy;

  • Demands to integrate marine recreational fisheries into multiannual management plans in an appropriate way, and notably by taking into consideration the social and economic aspects of the sector; 

  • Calls for more and better catch- and socio-economic data, and to collect the data regularly in order to be able to present a clearer picture of the recreational sector’s catches, its socio-economic importance and trends. 

The EAA and EFTTA warmly welcomed the report, which is another important step towards a much needed full recognition by the European Institutions of the recreational fisheries sector and its importance to people, communities and the economy.

The adopted text in all EU languages is available here.


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