The revised EU fisheries control regulation

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A game changer for angling!

In May, after five years in the making the EU Council and the European Parliament struck a deal on the EU Commission’s proposal for a revised fisheries control regulation.

EFTTA, together with the European Anglers Alliance (EAA), has lobbied this proposal from the outset in 2018. 

The EU institutions have agreed, as proposed by the EU Commission, that all recreational sea fishers shall be licensed or registered. However, later, the Member States watered down the Commission’s proposal by making clear that not all recreational sea fishers need to be registered, but only those who fish for or catch some specific species. This is what is required by the combined Articles 55 (1), (2) and (3). We are puzzled how this provision will be implemented and enforced effectively.

Today, roughly half of EU’s 10 mill. sea anglers are licensed or registered. This is part of a bigger scheme to get more and better data about recreational fishing in EU, and to improve management of the fish resource. Electronic registration of catches will also be mandatory for recreational fishers for certain species or stocks of species. Some issues of importance to angling are left to so-called Commission implementing acts. This includes, to list and set the frequency of recording and reporting of certain species, stocks or groups of stocks caught be recreational fishers. 
It is clear that the implementation process involves uncertainty. EFTTA will follow the work on the implementing acts, and deliver input as needed to the EU Commission. A meeting in September is already scheduled.
The agreement is now being finetuned by the Commission’s legal service. Then follows translation into all EU languages within a few weeks.


Lobby successes:

The Commission’s proposal from 2018 suggests all recreational fishing gear to be marked. We argued (see our position paper, link below, page 2) that: “The marking makes no sense for rod and line fishing (angling tackle), which should be exempted.”

The EU institutions have listened to us. The revised provision now reads:
“The Commission may, by way of implementing acts, adopt detailed rules concerning…The marking of gear used for recreational fisheries in a simple and proportionate manner, except hand-held gear.”

A registration or licensing system for “vessels used in recreational fisheries” was also proposed. We argued against that as an unnecessary measure (see our position paper, page 2). It is out of the final text.

EFTTA’s opinion is that the revised control regulation is a good one. It will deliver better insight into the recreational fisheries sector, improve data collection on the fishers and their catches, which also will be making additional research easier and more affordable. This should all be welcomed by the tackle industry.