Recreational fishing and Invasive Alien Species

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Thursday, 5 July 2018

Recreational fishing is one of the most popular leisure activities across Europe involving million of people, who organize fishing trips in their areas, countries or even abroad. As summer peaks up is time to remember how recreational fishers can help in tackling the introduction and further spread of invasive alien species (IAS).

In the past, little attention was paid on how recreational fishing can contribute to the introduction of alien species, some of which showing invasive behaviour. Fishing equipment, through the contact with water and the use of aquatic species as baits, has been identified as a potential primary and secondary pathway for the spread of IAS. Recreational fishers can have a pivotal role in monitoring and stop the spread of IAS by adopting simple responsible behaviors such as:

  •         follow the Check, Clean, Dry approach, disinfecting fishing equipment,
  •        become aware of IAS and report their presence in accordance with Member State guidelines,
  •        use only live baits complying with local or national regulations, and use aquatic organisms only in the water body from which these were collected.

In addition, recreational fishers, should follow the international and national legislations and protect endangered species, helping this way to protect biodiversity, increase the stability of native ecosystems, and reducing the potential of successful IAS introductions.

You can find more advice in the European Code of Conduct on Recreational Fisheries and Invasive Alien Species.


Useful links

NNSS Check, Clean, Dry campaign

Ontario Stop the spread of invasive species campaign

Recreational freshwater fishing drives non-native aquatic species richness patterns at a continental scale

Recreational boating: a large unregulated vector transporting marine invasive species

Engaging recreational fishers in management and conservation: global case studies

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