The body that represents anglers across Europe is battling a bid to ban angling in a network of core breeding and resting sites for rare and threatened species that stretches across all 27 EU countries.
The European Commission is proposing a general ban on recreational fishing in Natura 2000 sites as part of its forthcoming biodiversity policy. One of the countries worried about the proposal is Denmark, which has a number of lakes, streams and coastline, where fishing is currently practised, which would be affected.
The Danish Angling Association (DAA), along with the European Anglers Association (EAA) has approached the EU Commission with a view to having a ban taken off the table. “Both our association and the EAA support the need for specially protected nature areas in the EU – both at sea and on land – where pursuits like mining and commercial fishing, for example, should be restricted or completely banned,” says the DAA.
“However, a general ban on angling in these areas would be an unnecessary intervention that would not benefit the cause for a richer nature in Europe. Together with the EAA, we have approached the Commission to draw attention to the fact that well-regulated angling does not threaten fish stocks or prevent the achievement of Natura 2000 site targets.”
Torben Kaas, Chairman of the DAA, added: “Nature first, angling second. The debate on a ban on both hunting and fishing has filled much of the media and political committee agendas since the publication of the EU’s guide on protected areas which included the proposed ban.
“The Danish Ornithological Society has said that angling should be assessed from area to area, but that the starting point is that fishing should come second if it is to be allowed at all. It must depend on a concrete assessment on whether the fish species can tolerate a limited catch. We do not oppose that.
“We agree with ornithologists that fishing must always take place in a manner that fish species can tolerate and that is actually how angling is managed today. Many fish stocks, especially vulnerable ones, are already being closely monitored and the impact of angling being assessed. In this way we ensure that angling is not detrimental to fish stocks or biodiversity. If a species or stock is threatened we fully agree that fishing must be regulated until the development is reversed,” added Kaas.