Sea anglers are celebrating a key victory this week after the European Parliament watered down plans to include recreational fishermen’s catches in country landing quotas.
The controversial Article 47 of newly-proposed fisheries regulation would have forced shore anglers to register their catches and boat anglers to register their boats, and would also have included both groups’ catches against the quota for the UK.
A proposed amendment to delete the offending legislation altogether was rejected, but the plan was re-worded to allow individual national governments to decide whether to include recreational fishermen in the regulation.
Leading the fight to get the law changed was Struan Stevenson MEP, Conservative fisheries spokesman in the European Parliament. He said: “I am sorry that my amendment to delete Article 47 was defeated in the Fisheries Committee. However, the fallback amendment which won majority support reassures me that recreational anglers have nothing to fear.
“Only fishermen who target recovery stocks such as cod, hake, eel and bluefin tuna and then seek to sell their catch will come under the jurisdiction of the Common Fisheries Plan.”
The news has been widely welcomed by sea anglers country-wide, and none more so than former England sea angling captain Alan Yates.
“This will target only those greedy people who claim to be catching fish recreationally, but then sell them. The bass has suffered greatly from this.
Lots of clubs have been calling out for this law to be introduced for years now.”
EU Fisheries Commissioner Joe Borg said: “The hobby angler who catches an insignificant number of fish and uses them exclusively for his private consumption will not be covered by the control regulation, even if he catches fish like cod, which is under a recovery plan.”
But Stuart McPherson, a director of the Angling Trust who leads on marine issues, warned people not to get too carried away.
“I view this as a result in a skirmish, not the overall battle. I remain concerned that Defra representatives in the UK may impose a hard line when it comes to the next stage of passing the legislation at the end of the year.
“There are no guarantees that the recommendations made this week will be taken on board,” he added.