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Five ‘key’ issues facing industry highlighted at EFTTA AGA

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EFTTA Public Affairs Officer, Jan Kappel, highlighted five key areas of concern for recreational fishing at the association’s AGA last week.

Jan Kappel, EFTTA’s Public Affairs Officer and lobbyist in Brussels, highlighted five key issues for the tackle industry when he presented at the association’s Annual General Assembly (AGA) in the Belgian capital on Friday.

The use of lead weights/sinkers, single use plastics, new and revised EU legislation (sea fisheries), an electronic control scheme for recreational bass catches and the ongoing cormorant problem are all matters of vital importance to the trade, he told EFTTA members.

The meeting heard that there is constant pressure for more lead restrictions via amendments or additions to various EU and national legislation and conventions (chemicals, environment, labeling and health).

The EU Commission is to decide ‘soon’ about a possible ban on lead sinkers and jigheads in (a) wetlands; and (b) the whole of the EU territory.

There is also pressure from conventions – the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds and the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals – while both organisations are looking into lead in fishing under the Basel/Stockholm/Rotterdam convention, which deals with dangerous chemicals.

EFTTA’s position paper of 2014 encourages the voluntary substitution of lead where possible by 2020 and that lead weights heavier than 0.06 grams should be made from suitable alternative materials. Denmark, Holland, Sweden and the UK already have some form of lead ban or restriction in force.

Kappel also told the meeting that marine litter is very high on international, EU and national agendas.

On May 21 this year the Council adopted a directive on single-use plastics and fishing gear. EFTTA had submitted proposals for amendments, with a main request to have recreational angling gear exempted from the directive. “However, we now know that will not happen,” said Kappel.

“The Commission has assured us that we do not have much to fear from this Directive.” But can we trust that,” he queried. “They don’t consider us a big problem yet, but some day they will.”

The measures will be implemented between January 2023 and December 2014.

With regard to new and revised EU legislative acts important to recreational sea fisheries, Kappel explained that EFTTA has come a long way. “When the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) was introduced in the 70s, no-one had given any thought to recreational fisheries. That would still be the case if EFTTA and the European Anglers Alliance (EAA) didn’t lobby.”

However, he warned that ‘we are not there yet’ and the need to be treated on an equal footing with commercial fisheries and aquaculture had to be set in stone in the next revision of the CFP.

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