“The use of piers for private purposes means that recreational fishermen are finding it difficult to practice their sport.” MEP Francis Zammit Dimech made these remarks during a plenary debate on recreational fishermen at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
He added that anglers were concerned about ghost fishing and with the environmental impact being left on the marine environment which was having a negative effect on fish abundance. In this regard, more effort needs to be made with respect to management of waste including oil spills close to marinas and to recuperate waste found in the sea including abandoned nets. Zammit Dimech said that over the past weeks he met the four organisations representing anglers, the Federation for Recreational Fishermen and other anglers to learn more about their challenges and proposals for the sector.
The report makes an emphasis on the lack of data available with respect to the Mediterranean region. Zammit Dimech welcomed the collaboration between the Maltese anglers federation and the University of Malta and said that data collection was crucial to ensure that policy measures adopted in the future will be based on correct information.
He added that the sector had to be further supported including through EU funding as it generates jobs such as those related to small shops that offer services to recreational fishermen. Furthermore, this is an opportunity to boost sustainable tourism and generate employment for small coastal communities and on islands such as Gozo.
Zammit Dimech welcomed the various initiatives taken by recreational fishermen in terms of sustainability including the fact that the catch and release approach is practiced and other measures taken to exclude small fish from being caught.
The EPP Group is the largest political group in the European Parliament with 219 Members from 28 Member States