The Water Framework Directive (WFD) is an ambitious and innovative piece of legislation that must not be weakened, a meeting jointly organised by EFTTA has been told.
The latest Forum on Recreational Fisheries and Aquatic Environment (RecFish Forum) was discussing the status of the WFD, which is aimed at improving the quality of Europe's waterways, and exchanged views on what was needed to achieve its targets.
Mark Owen, Head of Freshwater at the Angling Trust, and speaking on behalf of the European Anglers Alliance (EAA), stressed that lack of implementation by the Member States was the problem, not the directive. "We think that the WFD is super. We like it and do not want it to be changed. What we do want is it to be implemented."
Veronica Manfredi, Director at the European Commission, admitted that EU waters are still affected by a series of pressures, including from agriculture, transport and energy production. She added that to address these issues, the commission will publish a report which will include specific recommendations.
The conference was ended with a lively debate during which panellists generally praised the WFD as an excellent piece of legislation that could dramatically improve the status of EU waters if implemented correctly. While it should be maintained as it is, policy-makers were urged to improve stakeholder involvement and ensure better integration of water management aspects into relevant sectors, specifically agriculture, energy, flood risk management and transport.
The WFD was adopted in 2000 with the aim to achieve 'good status' of Europe's freshwater bodies by 2017 at the latest. The European Commission is currently carrying out a 'fitness check' of the WFD to assess whether the current water policy framework is adequate and fit for purpose to address the challenges faced by Europe's freshwaters.