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EAA confirms its support for protected marine areas

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David Mitchell, Chairman of the EAA Sea Sub-Group.

The European Anglers Alliance (EAA), which represents the interests of three million members in Europe and beyond, has released a position paper on Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

Its publication follows a successful conference in the European Parliament where international speakers debated the management and benefits of angling within the areas.

The EAA’s stance supports the protection of marine habitats that create or restore ecosystems for the protection of spawning aggregations and young fish. It believes the objectives for any MPA should include both environmental and societal objectives to achieve a win-win situation for conservation and recreational activities with a low impact on the environment. It would further provide significant employment and economic benefits to coastal communities.

The EAA approach reflects the US model of designating MPAs where conservation is a primary goal but which also encourage recreational use where anglers become ‘ocean stewards’ and get involved in conservation projects.

Some 400,000 anglers generate more than $274m a year at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

“We encourage policy makers across Europe to see recreational angling as an activity compatible with the objectives of most MPAs,” said David Mitchell, Chairman of the EAA Sea Sub-Group.

Last month, the EU Commission announced the financing of five new projects to promote off-season tourism and extend the opening times of businesses.

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