EFTTA delegation meet with the EU Commission to talk about lead in fishing tackle
In March 2023, the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) delivered a lead restriction proposal to the EU Commission. ECHA has worked on that proposal since 2019. EFTTA has been involved with the proposal for as long as that, which also enabled ECHA to receive additional input directly from companies related to the Recreational Angling Industry. Now, the EU Commission’s own legal, economic and scientific experts are preparing a legally binding proposal based on ECHA’s text and ‘other input’ like the one from EFTTA. Although EFTTA supports a reduction of lead in sinkers, we recommend fine-tuning so that the industry can adapt technologically and time-wise.
On March 28, EFTTA met with four EU Commission officals working on the lead file.
From EFTTA attended Jan Mertens (Pure-Fishing), EFTTA President; Olivier Portrat, EFTTA CEO; Istvan Pal (Energofish), EFTTA Board member; Stéphane Sence (GIFAP); Jan Kappel, EFTTA Public Affairs Officer.
The Commission made it very clear that there is, indeed, a need for lead restrictions with regard to hunting and fishing. The Commission explained what happens now and what will happen later. Now, the Commission is drafting and discussing in-house a draft proposal. The draft will be presented to Member State representatives to be dealt with ‘soon’ in the REACH committee. The committee will meet ca. every two months (stakeholders are not allowed to attend these meetings, which are regulated under the comitology rules).
The whole process is expected to continue for about another year and a half. It could be a bit shorter or (much) longer. That depends on the Commission’s negotiations with the Member States. A qualified majority vote in favour is needed for adoption (55% of member states, representing at least 65% of the EU population).
EFTTA explained its position to the Commission
EFTTA is generally supporting the lead restrictions as outlined by ECHA but asked the Commission to add a few minor derogations:
- For brass used in tackle products within the scope EFTTA asks a max. limit 3% lead - instead of ECHA’s proposed 1%.
- A derogation for small dust shots of 0.06 grams or less - instead of the total ban suggested by ECHA.
- The transition period for lead sinkers: EFTTA asked 5 years for all products – instead of ECHA’s proposed three years for sinkers 50 g and below, and five years for bigger sinkers.
The EFTTA delegation also informed the Commission that EFTTA can accept both a use ban as well as no use ban. There are justifiable arguments in favour and against both provisions.
Finally, EFTTA urged the Commission to be very precise when phrasing the scope in its legislative proposal - to avoid surprises later on.
The Commission was happy to hear from EFTTA and encouraged us to stay in contact.
EFTTA will do that of course.
EFTTA would like to urge its members to identify and take contact with those national ministry officials to attend the REACH committee meetings.
(from ECHA's main page - see the link above):
- ECHA’s final opinion delivered to the EU Commission // March 2023
- Draft amendment to the Annex XVII (draft restriction) by Commission // Within 3 months of receipt of opinions
- Discussions with Member State authorities and vote // To be confirmed
- Scrutiny by Council and European Parliament // Before adoption (3 months)
- Restriction adopted (if agreed) // To be confirmed