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EFTTA and EAA accuse European Parliament of favouring commercial fisheries

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EFTTA and the EAA have accused the European Parliament of discrimination in favour of the commercial fisheries sector.

EFTTA and the European Anglers Alliance (EAA) have once again accused the European Parliament of discrimination in favour of the commercial fisheries sector following publication of the Parliament’s Western Mediterranean management plan.

Last month EFTTA and EAA reacted angrily to the one-bass bag limit imposed in northern European waters, accusing the European Parliament of favouritism towards the commercial fishing industry. This week the associations have expressed their great disappointment at a number of the amendments adopted by the European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries to the multi-annual plan designed to achieve sustainable exploitation of demersal fish stocks in the western region of the sea.

In a statement, EFTTA and EAA described some of the changes as ‘very hostile’ towards the recreational fishing sector. It cited a passage that if a recreational fishery is shown to have a significant impact on a fish stock it should be subjected to specific ‘management measures’, which do not harm the commercial fisheries sector.

EFTTA and the EAA have responded: “The wording alludes to a situation where commercial fisheries is the ‘owner’ of fish stocks and recreational fisheries is a ‘residue’ activity’. It means that recreational fisheries will always be deemed to suffer disproportionately from overfishing. This is not acceptable.

“The recreational fisheries sector should not be punished disproportionatey, or at all, for overfishing caused by the commercial fisheries sector, which is mainly responsible for the current over-exploitation of the Mediterranean Sea.”

It added: “Recreational fishing is a high-value, low impact activity which delivers substantial economic benefits and jobs to the Mediterranean coastal communities. A study ordered by the European Parliament in 2017 concluded that the total impact of the sector amounted to €10.5 billion, supporting almost 100,000 jobs. These are put in peril by the adopted amendments.”

EFTTA and the EAA have now called on the European Commission and Council not to accept the amendments. EFTTA and EAA also encourage the Council, the Commission and the Parliament to include recreational fisheries in the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) on an equal footing with the other sectors, commercial fisheries and aquaculture, to avoid such discrimination in the future.

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