EFTTA has called for recreational fishing to be exempted from EU waste legislation. The directive focuses directly on the growing amount of waste, particularly single-use plastic (SUP) that is polluting Europe's oceans, and places the responsibility on the producer to fund the clean-up operation under the 'polluter pays' principle.
It proposes the introduction of measures for the improved management of waste, including fishing gear containing plastic, being returned to shore to port reception facilities for its recycling or destruction.
However, recreational fishing has been included alongside the commercial sector in the directive's definition of fishing gear and waste fishing gear producers.
EFTTA's opinion paper, which has been widely circulated, states: "The proposed directive contains some inconsistences, grey areas and inaccuracies in need of being addressed. If adopted in its current form, it will impose unfair and disproportionate costs on EFTTA members."
It added that the definition should relate purely to commercial fishing and cover manufacturers of fishing gear meant for commercial fishing use.
"Most recreational anglers fish far from port reception facilities. It would be disproportional and unworkable to oblige them to deliver waste at these ports. Anglers aim to minimise the loss and destruction of gear that is often valuable to them. They can legally dispose of or recycle their used fishing gear through the ordinary household waste management and recycling system."