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Date: 22 January 2009
The European Commission has contacted OnlineFishing.tv to deny reports that ordinary UK sea anglers will have catch quotas imposed on them.
"You may have heard reports that the European Commission is planning to bring all anglers under the Common Fisheries Policy. This is not the case," Antonia Mochan, head of media, European Commission Representation to the UK, told OnlineFishing.tv.
"Anglers fishing in freshwater or on the shore will be free to continue as they always have done in all cases.
"Across Europe, there are some recreational anglers who do large-scale deep sea fishing and catch types of fish that are threatened due to low stocks, such as cod," continued Antonia.
"In Germany recreational anglers catch the equivalent of about 50% of Germany's cod quota in the North Sea.
"So for certain types of fish caught in certain circumstances, there is a proposal on the table that these catches should be registered.
"But if we look at the types of fish caught recreationally in the UK and those that are subject to the sort of management plans we are talking about, we see that there is little overlap.
"The fish targeted by anglers are on the whole not the same as those targeted by commercial fisherman (hake, cod, plaice, eel, sole all have long-term management plans in the UK) and so will not have any reporting requirements."
OnlineFishing asked if that meant that shore anglers in the UK were in the clear, but boat anglers could expect quotas:
"The only restrictions could be on sea anglers catching the few species for which there are what are called "long-term management plans": that is, those species that are under particular pressure/threat," said Antonia.
"Looking at those species that are most commonly fished by sport anglers, there is unlikely to be much of an impact on their activities - except perhaps those that fish for cod.
"Shore and freshwater anglers would not be affected under our proposal. Of course, these are only proposals and so will need to be discussed with the European Parliament and national governments, so nothing is set in stone at this stage."
Fisheries Spokeswoman, Natalie Charbonneau added "In fisheries where stocks are vulnerable to overfishing and thus subject to multiannual plans (such as the cod fishery), it is only right that the recreational fishing industry should contribute to the efforts necessary to ensure the long-term sustainability of the fishery.
"I recognise that for a small minority of people this could be a cause of inconvenience. But at the same time, I am sure that anglers would agree on the need for us to preserve our vulnerable stocks and ensure that angling continues to be a source of enjoyment for them for many years to come. UK anglers have argued that the vast majority of the fish that they catch is returned to the sea alive. Needless to say, these fish will not be counted against the national quota."
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