EU denies planning fish quotas for sea anglers


THE EUROPEAN Commission’s Irish office has described recent reports that quotas will be imposed on recreational anglers as a “load of old cod”.

Director of the European Commission Representation in Ireland Martin Territt confirmed yesterday that there is a proposal to protect certain vulnerable stocks in open sea from deep sea rod fishing.

This would close off a loophole which allows recreational game fishermen to take fish such as blue-fin tuna and cod which are “off-limits” to commercial catchers, Mr Territt said.

It was a “typical distortion of EU policy” to suggest that anglers in rowing boats and on beaches would be subject to quotas and logbooks, he said.

However, he added: “It’s simply not true to say that recreational vessels account for 1 per cent of the EU fish catch.

“In Germany, up to 50 per cent of the national cod quota is taken by recreational fishermen.”

“In Italy, 20 per cent of the blue-fin tuna quota is taken like this. So it is by no means small numbers.

“We believe it’s not realistic to let these fish stocks just disappear while commercial fishermen are subject to tight controls.”

Some EU states already have national rules in place for anglers, and recreational fishermen in the US are subject to the same limitations as the commercial sector on certain sensitive species, he pointed out.

In a related development, two regional fishery board chairmen have made a joint plea to the Government to retain two fisheries regions which are to be merged.

Western Regional Fisheries board chairman Lal Faherty and North Western Regional Fisheries board chairman John Walkin said they were “deeply concerned” about the proposal to merge their two boards as part of the establishment of a new Inland Fisheries Authority later this year.

A single region for the entire west would be “far too big and would make effective protection and development of the west’s highly valuable salmon and trout fisheries extremely difficult”, they said.

The new region would extend over a vast area from north Leitrim to Clare and would include most of the country’s top salmon and wild brown trout fisheries, they added in a joint statement.