EFTTA will be represented at a significant meeting next week in Brussels to discuss invasive non-native species – which comes days after a deadly ‘Snakehead’ fish was caught in a British river.
The giant snakehead comes from south east Asia. But the capture of one on the River Witham in Lincolnshire has sparked fears in the UK of an invasion of the species – which is a huge predator and can wipe out fish stocks if left unchecked. Next week (March 10th) discussions are taking place to formulate an EU Framework on Invasive Alien Species. Dr Bruno Broughton of the European Anglers Alliance – who has been working closely with EFTTA lobbyist Jan Kappel on the issue of snakehead fish – will attend the meeting. There is also an online survey, running until May 5th, which anglers and concerned companies can complete to share their views on the snakehead. Jan Kappel asked the EU to implement an import ban on all 28 species of snakehead six years ago, but the then Commissioner for the Environment, Margot Wallstrom, refused. Last week, Jan wrote to EU Environment Minister Stavros Dimas, again urging for EU action.
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The Swedish government has unveiled a new six-year fishing policy that will reduce the nation’s commercial fishing fleet by 30% in a bid to save fish stocks in Swedish seas. The policy also supports the development of fishing tourism and recreational fishing, which was today welcomed by the European Fishing Tackle Trade Association (EFTTA). Fiskeriverket – The Swedish Board of Fisheries – will also implement stricter laws and impose fines on those who over-fish, while severe breaches of the law will result in fishing licences being confiscated. The European Commission recently approved the Operational Programme for the Swedish Fisheries Sector for the period 2007-2013. The new EU programme for 2007-2013 aims at promoting an ecologically, economically and socially sustainable fisheries sector in Sweden by creating a balance between fish resources and fleet capacity, increasing profitability in the fisheries sector, promoting employment in rural areas in relation to the fisheries sector, decreasing the negative environmental effects brought about by the fisheries sector and ensuring the sustainability of both the environment and natural fish stocks.
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Some of the latest world fishing news for EFTTA members including important information about ICAST. USA , ICAST 2008 NOW BOOKABLE ONLINE
ICAST 2008, the largest showcase of innovation in sportfishing gear and accessories under one roof, will be held this year on July 16-18 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Limited exhibition space is still available, and remaining booth space is going quickly, so companies who want to exhibit at the sportfishing industry expo should submit an exhibit space contract as soon as possible. 2,000 buyers and 400 media representatives attend the show. One of the best resources ASA provides for its exhibitors is the Exhibitor Promo Pak. The Promo Pak contains many items to help exhibitors promote their booths and attract buyers to the show.  A hard copy of the Promo Pak will be mailed to all confirmed exhibitors in March. A downloadable PDF is also available on the website. For more information about ICAST contact Ken Andres.

A call has been made for action to reduce crayfish numbers in Scotland. American signal crayfish, which can eat young fish and destroy their habitat, have been found in increasing numbers at Loch Ken in Dumfries and Galloway. Bob Williams of the Glenkens Business Association said the problem was having a ‘major impact’ on trade in the area and there are fears the situation is especially damaging tourism revenues. Hoteliers in the area say they have seen a significant downturn in the number of fishermen coming to the loch and that many of them are abandoning south west Scotland for the more consistent fishing in Holland and Ireland. Dave Paterson of the Kenbridge Hotel said it affected more than the hospitality industry. “Loch Ken has been a Mecca for fishermen for many years,” he said. “If the standards are dropping then we are going to have less people coming here. This impacts obviously on the hotels but it also impacts on the businesses and the infrastructure of the area.”
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Campaigning continues to grow in Scotland to preserve and sustain recreational fishing, which is seen as vital to the country’s economy. Last month a Parliamentary debate on Scottish recreational sea angling took place, the first time this subject has ever been debated in the Scottish Parliament. The Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network (SSACN) gave a presentation at the meeting, which demonstrated that a skate – worth just £25 on the fishmonger slab – has already earned over £6,000 for the country from recreational angling. And Scottish MSPs John Scott and John Farquhar Munro also renewed calls for the Scottish government to do everything in its power to preserve fish stocks and support recreational angling.  EFTTA President Gregg Holloway congratulated the SSACN and Scottish MSPs for staging the debate. He said: “It is vitally important that debates about the importance of recreational angling take place at the highest government levels across Europe. In this respect, Scotland appears to be leading the way with some very proactive and welcome initiatives.
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