Marine recreational fishermen will voluntarily register catches from April 2017 onwards | Flanders Marine Institute

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Marine recreational fishermen will voluntarily register catches from April 2017 onwards

Added on 2017-03-30
How many fish do Belgian marine recreational fishermen actually catch? Until today no exact answer can be given to this question so far, as data are lacking. However, this will change soon. From 1 April 2017 onwards, numerous recreational fishermen will contribute by reporting their catches on a voluntary basis to the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) and the Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO). This close cooperation between both institutes and the recreational fisheries sector is unique, and based on mutual trust and transparency. The catch data, in combination with other monitoring activities, will finally result in the first scientifically underpinned catch estimation for the Belgian marine recreational fisheries.

Photo: VLIZ

Europe obliges Member States to collect data on their national recreational fisheries catches. The fishermen in question do not consider this rule negatively after all. As this type of data will allow the Belgian marine recreational fisheries sector (incl. shore fisheries) to demonstrate exactly how many fish they catch on species level. These data are currently lacking. Furthermore, the recreational fisheries sector can benefit from a ‘tailor-made’ regulatory framework that is adapted into reality.
The data collection of catches, spatial distribution and fishing effort are essential for the sector to be considered as a full partner and interlocutor in (future) policy processes. In fact, a scientifically underpinned and joined-up integrated policy framework for marine recreational fisheries can result in great benefits on both an ecological and a local/national socioeconomic (e.g. tourism) level, keeping in mind that this sector has a highly underrated economic interest (a billion Euro turnover on EU level!).
By voluntarily reporting the catches over a period of minimum 12 months (from 1 April 2017 onwards), a significant number of marine (and shore) recreational fishermen will actively contribute to the data collection process as coordinated and implemented by VLIZ and ILVO. The integration of the catch data with the other on-site monitoring activities will result in the first objective, scientifically-based catch estimations for the Belgian marine recreational fisheries. During the data collection process, VLIZ and ILVO strive towards complete transparency, and will allow everyone to consult the (interim) monitoring results in near real-time on from May 2017 onwards (only available in Dutch). This online platform will also facilitate the digital information (catch) transfer by fishermen and will provide the ability to interactively consult the relevant regulations from May 2017 onwards.
Are you a Belgian marine recreational fisherman (irrespective of your frequency of fishing) willing to participate to this data collection programme, but not registered yet? Please go to to log in!


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