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EFTTA CEO welcomes EU decision on waterways protection

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Olivier Portrat has welcomed the news that the Water Framework Directive will remain unchanged.

The CEO of the representative body for the fishing tackle industry in Europe has welcomed a decision by the EU to confirm a key protection for the region’s waterways.

On Monday, the European Commission announced that the Water Framework Directive (WFD) will not be opened up to change as requested by a number of EU member states and some businesses.

Olivier Portrat, CEO of EFTTA, said: “This is a very important decision. EFTTA has feared for a long time – for good reason – that the WFD would be opened up and diluted to meet the interests of some parties.

“EFTTA, its members and Europe’s 25 million recreational anglers have a very obvious interest in healthy aquatic habitats and the life in and around them. Society as a whole, not least those in rural areas, benefit greatly from the multi-billion euro economic activities generated by the recreational fishing sector.

“Angling’s social contribution is as important, though not monetised. The sport produces millions of happy people from all walks of life.

“Earlier this year EFTTA joined a coalition of prominent companies who were against the WFD being watered down. It is important that our legislators are well aware that there are many industry stakeholders who want to see an improvement, not a standstill or backtracking, of efforts to conserve and protect the environment.”

In a statement, the EU’s Commissioner for Environment, Ocean and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, confirmed the need to focus on supporting implementation and enforcement ‘without changing the directive’. 

Portrat added: “The message from the Commission is clear: the WFD is an essential piece of EU environmental legislation and is here to stay in its current form.”

The decision comes six months after the law was concluded to be ‘fit for purpose’, following a thorough two-year evaluation. During that time, more than 375,000 people demanded that the WFD be kept in its current form and implemented better by their governments. 

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