Cod only knows

Reports are flying around that the European Commission is planning to bring all anglers under the Common Fisheries Policy. This is not the case. Anglers fishing in freshwater or on the shore will be free to continue as they always have done. 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. In Germany 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, then there will be a need to register those catches. But if we look at the types of fish caught recreationally in the UK, particularly South-West England, where this has got a lot of attention, 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).

Just made a small change to be more accurate about the maths of the German quota.


Filed under Euromyths

13 responses to “Cod only knows

  1. Riddi of England

    I find this disturbing.

    Do you have any comment ?

  2. The Commission office in London and Brussels have been informed that the UK office has published a number of distorted or inaccurate information ont his issue. A couple of examples:

    Sportfishing is already a part of the CFP. However, the new regulation brings sportfishing further into the CFP by e.g. including the recreational catches in the quota assesment system, and by requiring that some catches shall be counted against national quotas.

    This is wrong: “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).”

  3. antonia

    All the comments that we made were done in liaison with Brussels. We were responding to media reports that implied that anyone who took up a fishing rod in his or her spare time would be covered by the Common Fisheries Policy. We stand by our assertion that this is not the case. The people responsible for this policy in Brussels will soon be clarifiying the means they propose to ensure that small-scale angling for recreational purposes is not caught by this new proposal. The assertion that Jan Kappel says is wrong has been supported in discussions I have had with people in the UK angling community.

  4. antonia

    Riddi, the biocides used to fight malaria are not affected by the new Regulation on Plant Protection products. Fighting malaria falls under a different legal framework (biocides). For the control of malaria, the availability of DDT for indoor spraying has not suffered from its prohibition in plant protection several decades ago.The European Commission does not interfere in the choice of malaria control measures by third countries, even in the case of persistent pesticides such as DDT. All governments which use DDT to this effect have agreed to do it according to the strict control criteria of the 2001 Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).

    The fact that certain pesticides (a recent study in Sweden shows that under the new rules 23 existing products will no longer be available for use) will not be available in the EU does not mean that they cannot be used elsewhere. The regulation allows for different residue levels to be set for goods imported from countries where the pesticides concerned are still in use. This measure has already been used in the past, e.g. for products from South America.

    Link to the Swedish study:
    UK guidance on import tolerances:

  5. Dear Antonia,

    Surely, I am not happy to be deemed wrong when I believe I am right. However, I am always willing to learn something new.

    I find it impossible for you to prove me wrong on what I have said on this drafted regulation with its Art 47. It is poorly drafted. It leaves a lot of space open for guessing and questions, which simply cannot be answered or discussed meaningfully without clarification on the terms in use.

    Nobody knows what is up and down in this matter before we have seen on paper more information and clarification from the Brussels team working on the regulation.

    At present it cannot be stated for sure, which and how many anglers will be included this new control regulation. So my claim is as good as yours. However, I would say that my guess is slightly better than yours as my guess refers to what is written, not what might be the Commission’s intention, or what might come later of clarification or amendments. I’ll still claim that according the written word ALL and ANY angler can be included this regulation if they fish “on stocks subject to a multiannual plan”, e.g hake, cod, plaice, eel, sole and what other species, which might later come under such a multi-annual plan.

    I would like you to answer a few simple questions:

    Do you stand with what you/your office have said (see above 21 January) that “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).”

    Can you tell me what is a “vessel” as mentioned in the regulations Art 47? Could it include row boats? If not, why not?

    How do you define “small-scale angling for recreational purposes”? Is “small scale” referring to the person and/or the combined fishing effort on a certain fish stock fished by anglers? Where can I find “small scale” in the drafted regulation?

    Here is article 47. This is what we know for sure at present. This for all to make up their own mind:

    Article 47- Recreational fisheries

    1. Recreational fisheries on a vessel in Community waters on a stock subject to a multiannual plan shall be subject to an authorisation for that vessel issued by the flag Member State.

    2. Catches in recreational fisheries on stocks subject to a multiannual plan shall be registered by the flag Member State.

    3. Catches of species subject to a multiannual plan by recreational fisheries shall be counted against the relevant quotas of the flag Member State. The Member States concerned shall establish a share from such quotas to be used exclusively for the purpose of recreational fisheries.

    4. The marketing of catches from a recreational fishery shall be prohibited except for philanthropic purposes.

    Best regards.
    Jan Kappel, SG, EAA

  6. steve


    I find it interesting that you say “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).”

    On my coast – NE Scotland – the only one of those I am unlikely to catch is hake – all the rest figure.

    So – how would I, as a shore based recreational sea angler be affected ?

  7. David Proudfoot

    The subject of Article 47 has cetainly stirred up lots of interest on various internet forums.

    Most MEPs have be the subject of many emails from anglers and there are several petitions going around.

    As someone who deals with the enforcement of EC Regulations on a daily basis the devil is usually in the detail in the form of the official guidance to the regulation.

  8. antonia

    As David says, the devil is in the detail. The proposal that Jan refers to is a Framework proposal that will have implementing regulations. Thesea re being worked on now and will be discussed with Member States as the control regulation goes through. To quote the Commissioner (and I can’t get it more “from the horse’s mouth” than that!):

    It is not the intention of the Commission that an angler who goes out in his rowing boat on a Saturday and brings back two cod will be heavily controlled. Anybody who claims this is simply not telling the truth. Only those recreational fisheries that have a big impact on the fish under a multi annual plan should be covered by the rules. Therefore we will examine this on a case by case basis and we will make easy to implement and realistic proposals. My services are already working together with the angler associations and the Member States to find proportionate and realistic rules that work for everyone’s benefit.

  9. steve

    Antonia – you seem very keen to accuse people of not telling the truth but I’m afraid you are very fond of avoiding answering (if not dissembling) when asked direct questions.

    What evidence is there that any form of recreational sea angling in Scotland has a big impact on any stocks ?

    I find it difficult that such could be identified when commercial vessels fishing according to EU CFP rules discard over 6 million cod annually in Scottish waters alone.

    When you say ‘we’ will examine each case, who are ‘we’ and who will ‘we’ discuss these matters with – I know for a fact that ‘we’ have not discussed any of this with any representative Scottish angling / angling conservation organisation.

    Finally, I’ll ask once again – how would I, as a shore based recreational sea angler be affected given I catch 4 of the species subject to management plans.

    It will be interesting to see if your response is consistent with that of our First Minister’s and Fisheries Minister’s.

  10. antonia

    Steve, you asked me how you, as a shore-based angler would be affected. My answer was clear in the original post – inland and shore-based anglers will not be affected by these proposals. Our (as in the European Commission) proposal will include certain types of recreational fishing in the control rules of the EU fisheries policy in November 2008. How this will work in practice is the subject of legal texts currently being drafted, but we have said, at the highest level, that the new rules will only apply to those fishing from a boat at sea. Even then, not all sea-anglers will be affected, but those fishing those species that are subject to restrictions due to concerns about their stocks. The fisheries experts tell me “even amongst stocks covered by plans, we will decide on a case by case basis which stocks would be covered by the new rules. Only stocks which are in a critical situation and where recreational fishery really has a big impact would be covered. ” So if Scottish anglers fishing at sea from boats have little impact on the stocks of those species, then they will not be covered.

    The experts are meeting and have met with representatives of angling associations such as the European Anglers Alliance and the European Federation of Sea Anglers, and certainly the latter has Scottish representation.

    The issue of discards is one that concerns everyone involved in fisheries and the Commission is working on reducing the number of fish thrown away, see Commissioner Borg’s speech at the workshop done last year with the fishing industry:

  11. How can you write something like:
    “In Germany anglers catch the equivalent of about 50% of Germany’s cod quota in the North Sea.”

    Did you ever thought about it? How many recreational fisher live there and catch regulary cod in the north sea?

    IF cod fishing is done by recreational boat fisher – it’s done in the baltic sea. Ok – here it will be over in a view years because of this stupid min. sizes and industry fishing to avoid any quota system via bycatch regulation…..(all nicely covered by EU law…) from Danish and German local commercial fishers….

    There are no data from recreational fishers about their catches. So where are the statistics from?

    The strategy of the politcs?
    1. finde a stupid argument based on no facts, only estimations
    2. use your own estimations as arguments for new regulations, controll and laws
    3. don’t tell that it’s only done for nothing on costs fot the tax payer…..
    4. find new stupid arguments why the regulation did not work after a view years….

    I want to protect the cod and other species. So allow C&R everywhere, put higher min. sizes for everyone (like BE 50cm for COD), put max. size limits in place, stop stupid bycatch regulation and count ALL fish from commercial fishers, stop IUU fishery in EU waters. Put in a catch limit per day for recreational fisher (e.g. BE 15/20Kg) and controll it in the landing habours if needed. Keep regulation equal in the EU….

    But leave us alone with stupid quotas and logbooks and other burocratic useless stuff…..


  12. Al

    I’m an recreational angler. (I fish mostly off the Welsh West coast ~10 miles out). Its been very noticeable over the last 15yr how drastically the fish stocks are being destroyed and support anything the EU (or UK/UN) can do to help rectify the problem.

    Its a difficult problem to fix and I, for one, think its great that we see the proposals and comment on them, before they are made into law.

    I’m very disappointed in the way the British media have chosen to frame the debate, making wild assumptions on how it may affect a few recreational fishermen, rather than the much bigger issue of collapsing fish stocks.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s