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Portugese Sea Licence Figures

Dec 04,2007 SACN


Following sustained pressure from EFTTA, the Portuguese government has released official figures of the sales of sea fishing licenses - which were introduced to widespread criticism from the angling trade at the beginning of 2007.

EFTTA can reveal today that 188,845 sea fishing licences (including spear fishing) have been sold from January-November - 11,731 (6.2%) are three year licences, 131,007 (69.4%) are annual licences and 46,107 (24.4%) are monthly licenses.

EFTTA President Gregg Holloway said today that the figures at last gave some indication of the impact the sea licence scheme was having on the angling trade in Portugal.

He said: "The figures make disappointing reading for the angling trade. The introduction of the sea fishing licence has clearly not been well-received by Portuguese anglers - because these figures show that either large numbers of anglers are fishing illegally, or they have stopped fishing all together.

"In both those cases, that is worrying. But feedback from the angling trade in Portugal does suggest that many anglers have stopped fishing as a result of the licence scheme. That is terrible news for our industry.

"Now we have official figures, we can continue to lobby the Portuguese government to make sure that recreational anglers and the angling trade are protected. EFTTA has always said that it is not against licence schemes for recreational anglers if the revenues from such schemes are redirected back to the sport.

“But in the Portuguese case, they are not, so it is effectively an unfair 'tax on angling'.”

Research conducted five years ago suggested there were around 485,000 sea anglers in Portugal, using European national averages supplied by EFTTA and the European Anglers Alliance (EAA).

However, the figures show that this year just 188,845 anglers in the country actually bought licences - 133,222 for the shore, 40,636 for boat, and 14,987 for spear fishing.

The licence sales generated some 2.46 million euros of revenue for the Portuguese Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. But 50% of this will be spent on commercial fishing activities, which has also angered recreational anglers in Portugal.

Added Gregg: "The licence sales have generated almost 2.5m euros of revenue for the Portuguese government directly from anglers' pockets - and if, as we suspect, anglers have found this spare money by reducing their spend on tackle and bait, then that too is clearly damaging the trade."

Earlier this year, EFTTA launched an online petition against unfair sea fishing taxes, which has been signed by more than 800 anglers around Europe.

The organisation, which represents the interests of more than 200 members, is also concerned at the number of job losses that the licence scheme could be responsible for in the tackle trade and tourism industries.

The petition can be signed at: www.ipetitions.com/petition/eftta-licences

Notes to editors:
Official EFTTA/EAA figures presented to the European Commission in 2002 suggested an average of 6.5% of any European country's population are regular recreational anglers.

Based on a 10.6 million population, this creates 690,000 anglers in Portugal. The Portuguese Fishing Tackle Trade estimates that a minimum 70% are sea anglers (485,000 people).

EFTTA is the European Fishing Tackle Trade Association, for manufacturers and wholesalers of sportfishing equipment. EFTTA members can exhibit at EFTTEX, the leading international Fishing Tackle Trade Exhibition. Membership is open to Manufacturers, Wholesalers, Agents and Press in the tackle industry.

EFTTA was established in London in 1981, as an international, independent association to serve the European fishing tackle trade by campaigning to promote sportfishing, environmental issues and international business.

EFTTEX 2008 will take place in the Fiera di Roma Exhibition Centre, Rome, from June 13-15.


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