THE European Anglers Alliance has branded as ‘unacceptable’ proposals to effectively cut angling interests out of the decision making process with regard to the preservation or otherwise of stocks of sea fish.

RACs (Regional Advisory Councils) have been proposed for the major sea fishery areas of Europe and to play a key role in providing advice to member states and Regional government on fisheries management in a reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

Original proposals for the composition of RACs lumped the recreational fishing sector in with “other interest groups” and allocated 51% of the membership to the commercial sector. Latest proposals increase the allocation of seats to the commercial sector to 67%.
“This is completely unacceptable,” said Jan Kappel, Secretary-General of the European Anglers Alliance.

“The RAC Proposal favours the voice of one stakeholder group, the commercial fishermen and the fishing industry, to an unreasonable extent at the expense of four other stakeholder groups, the Recreational Fisheries Sector, the Aquaculture sector, Environmental organisations and other interest groups.”
Kappel says the commercial fishing sector would hold an overwhelming majority on the RACs, yet it is this sector which has consistently opposed scientific advice aimed at sustainable management of fish stocks.
He believes the Commission proposal does not recognise the size and economic importance of the recreational fishery sector – 25 million participants generating a spend of more than €25 billion pa – the growing contribution of the aquaculture sector or the influence of the environmental NGOs.
“The Council of Ministers has agreed that a new sustainable CFP is essential to replace the failed old CFP. Movement away from purely commercial objectives towards the adoption of the eco-system approach to fisheries management is an integral part of the CFP reform process, and the composition of RACs must also reflect these changes,” stated Kappel,
“Dominance of the commercial fisheries sector on RACs will impede progress towards sustainable management of fish stocks. This must be avoided’.
The European Anglers Alliance is calling on the European Council to reject these proposals from the Commission and request a revised RAC proposal offering a better balance between stakeholders which can contribute effectively to the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) – in particular the sustainable management of fish stocks, incorporating an eco-system approach and the precautionary principle.
*** Find our explanatory report to the European Council and Commission
including amendments to the RAC proposal on:
http://www.eaa-europe.org/2003/PFPress/Press-List%20-%20EN.htm

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