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, which is still under discussion, is available here
The EAA and the EFTTA have followed closely the development of this important report that, when adopted, will represent the European Parliament’s take on the recreational fisheries sector and have raised a number of 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


-Research for PECH Committee “Marine recreational and semi-subsistence fishing - its value and its impact on fish stocks”, Kieran HYDER, Zachary RADFORD, Raul PRELLEZO, Marc Simon WELTERSBACH, Wolf-Christian LEWIN, Lucia ZARAUZ, Keno FERTER, Jon RUIZ, Bryony TOWNHILL, Estanis MUGERZA, Harry V. STREHLOW, 2017