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RSA STRATEGY SACN RESPONSE

Discussion in 'Sea Fishing Forum - Shore, Boat & Kayak Fishing' started by Baramundi Bob, Jan 30, 2007.

  1. Baramundi Bob

    Baramundi Bob Super Leeds United !!!

    Recieved this morning from Leon

    To All SACN Members,

    Please find attached the comments that have been sent by SACN to DEFRA on the draft of the Strategy for Recreational Sea Angling (previously distributed to the SACN membership).

    Many thanks to all of those that replied with comments to be included in the response.

    No doubt this will prove to be one of the most influential documents affecting the quality of our fishing, and the health of the RSA sector, in the years to come, and it is important that we do all that we can to ensure that DEFRA get it right.

    (Adoption of the strategy within England by DEFRA will probably have impacts on other administrations within the British Isles)

    Once DEFRA have recieved comments on the draft from the narrow range of organisations consulted so far, they will decide whether it is necessary to convene another meeting of the RSA sub-group of the Inshore Working Group to discuss the comments recieved, together with other stakeholders making up the RSA sub group.

    (We understand that NFSA, BASS and YALASA are among the other RSA organisations who will be delivering their own comments on the draft document).

    In any case we expect that DEFRA will finally adopt full ownership of the strategy document and make it available for wider consultation as the next step in the near future.



    Regards - Leon Roskilly

    Sea Anglers' Conservation Network (SACN)

    http://www.sacn.org.uk


    SACN Ireland: http://www.sacn-online.org/
    SACN Channel Islands: http://www.fishing-guernsey.co.uk/SACN.html
    SACN Scotland: http://www.sacnscotland.co.uk/


    Latest Conservation News: http://www.sacn.org.uk/Conservation-and-Political-News/
     
  2. Baramundi Bob

    Baramundi Bob Super Leeds United !!!

    30th January, 2007

    Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs
    Nobel House
    17 Smith Square
    London
    SW1P 3JR


    SACN Response to the Draft RSA Strategy Document V3.1




    Introduction


    “You don’t know what you’ve got until you start to lose it” is something of a cliché, but is eminently suitable to what has happened in regard to the UK’s Recreational Sea Fisheries.

    When nature provided plenty of fish, and plenty of large fish, the UK had the potential for being considered a world class Recreational Sea Fishing destination, a huge and varied coastline in comparison to land mass, positioned to benefit from different major ocean currents creating diverse recreational sea fisheries of different species, and a good number of safe estuaries benefiting small boat anglers and a sizeable angling charter fleet.

    That recreational fishery had all it needed.

    But as inshore stocks declined, the days when anglers could reliably expect to make good catches, and often caught noteworthy specimens, became fewer and fewer, and now only those who have fished for many decades remember just how good the fishing once was, and how good it could be again, providing different management of the fundamental resources that the Recreational Sea Angling Sector needs is undertaken.

    Such a strategy needs to particularly address the decline in inshore stocks, once plentiful and available to Recreational Sea Anglers, plaice, flounder (particularly missed), specimen sized bass and cod, mullet, tope, spurdogs, wrasse etc.

    And it should be noted that the Net Benefits report makes a number of particular recommendations, confirmed by the EFRA committee, that will benefit the RSA sector, including looking at making some species wholly recreational. (These recommendations should be re-visited and included within the strategy to avoid future challenges that the strategy fails to address the delivery of previous government policy).

    Up to the 1980’s bass was a recreational only species. Then the catching sector started to turn its attention towards the species; flounder and dab have suffered similarly, used for pot bait as has tope, and now even wrasse is being marketed as sushi.

    And all the while, the valuable, and potentially far more valuable UK Recreational Sea Fisheries have been neglected and allowed to decline, unprotected.

    So, it is with optimism that the value of the sector, not just economically, but socially as well, has recently begun to be recognised.

    More slowly the realisation that the sector depends upon responsible management of the resources upon which the sector depends, and for some species the need to give priority to the sector’s needs over the interests of other stakeholders to attain the return of maximum value for UK PLC from best value management of shared resources.

    The strategy needs to declare a clear commitment towards the restoration and development of our valuable Recreational Sea Fisheries, and the need to manage some resources with that commitment in mind.

    The Development of a world class Recreational Sea Fishery within UK Inshore Waters should be the primary objective of the strategy, the rest is simply how we get there.

    Commentary on the Draft Strategy Document

    The Draft Strategy Document (V3.1) was distributed to the SACN Membership and comments invited from the membership to be fed back into the strategy development process.

    A number of all-encompassing issues were expressed, common to a number of responses received from the membership.


    1) The aim of the strategy is declared to be “To enhance the recreational sea angling experience in England in a sustainable, holistic and environmentally responsible way”

    However, a number of respondents were disappointed in finding little emphasise within the document on enhancing the recreational sea angling experience, or how that is to be achieved, but felt rather that the document might more accurately be described as a ‘strategy for the management and regulation of recreational sea angling’.

    It is generally agreed that the document needs to more powerfully convey the idea that it is concerned with developing the Recreational Sea Fishery (rather than with managing and regulating sea angling), and spell out in unequivocal terms how that is to be achieved.

    ‘To Develop World Class Recreational Sea Fisheries in the United Kingdom’ should also be an emphasised objective of the strategy.


    2) More and Bigger Fish

    Again respondents have concentrated upon the inevitable link between access to more and bigger fish, of the species that anglers target, (and particularly the need to realign management objectives for those species to produce more bigger fish) and feel strongly that the strategy should reflect the importance of managing stocks to enhance the angling experience.

    It needs to be emphasised, and strongly stated, that a fishery managed to produce an enhanced recreational sea angling experience, needs to be managed in a fundamentally different way to a fishery managed for commercial yield alone.

    Particularly for some species, recreational fish stocks must contain a good number of mature sizeable specimens, more representative of a natural age structure, rather than a large quantity of mostly immature fish suitable for the fish market.

    The need for more and bigger fish needs to be headlined and re-iterated within the document as this is THE core measure that will lead to an enhanced recreational sea angling experience, and further development of the sector, and the recreational fishery that supports the sector.

    A number of responders have emphasised that without more and bigger fish, the rest is just so much ‘hot air’ (or worse!).


    3) Licensing and Bag Limits

    A number of people have picked up on the mention of both licensing (or charging) of sea anglers, and the imposition of bag limits.

    Both of these subjects are highly contentious within the Recreational Sea Angling Community, and it has been queried as to why such subjects have been included within a document whose stated aim is to enhance the recreational sea angling experience, whereas many believe that this will act to suppress participation in the sea angling experience.

    Some people accept that both licensing and bag limits are features of packages of measures within the successful management of healthy Recreational Sea Fisheries overseas, but feel that the document needs to more clearly state how these elements are to be combined into a package that will be of overall benefit to the development of Recreational Sea Angling in the UK, and the fisheries upon which a healthy and growing RSA sector can be established.

    It is generally agreed by all that it should be clear that there can be no acceptance of a Sea Angling Licence until realigned fisheries management policies can be demonstrated to have produce an enhanced ‘angling product’ (access to more and bigger fish), which is worth paying for.

    Similarly, the imposition of bag limits should only be considered as part of an overall conservation package that will demonstrably benefit stock availability (leading to more and bigger fish), and which is proportionate to additional restrictions on commercial effort on the species for which bag limits are proposed.


    4) The Golden Mile

    Particularly in the south of the country, respondents were adamant that this needs to be a central feature of any strategy that aims to enhance the recreational sea angling experience.


    5) Sea Fisheries Committees

    There is considerable disquiet in proposals within the strategy document suggesting that Sea Fisheries Committees will be responsible for delivering much of the benefit for RSA, and to take on some of the regulation and management of sea angling activity.

    Traditionally SFCs have been seen by anglers as protecting the interests of the catching sector, and it is felt that they will always side with the interests of the catching sector, rather than the promotion of the interests of the RSA sector, especially whenever there is any conflict of interest, regardless as to where the greatest societal or conservation benefits are to be found.

    SACN understands that there are proposals to transform the structure, mission, powers and makeup of SFCs, but it has been pointed out that members can only comment on the situation as it now stands.

    The document should either clearly lay out how SFCs will be transformed to fairly deliver future benefits to the RSA sector, and management of Recreational Sea Fisheries, or else make their nomination as the agency for delivery of such benefits conditional upon such future far-reaching reform.

    An agency enthusiastically committed to the development of the UK’s Recreational Sea Fisheries, that has the support of Recreational Sea Anglers, is an essential part of any strategy for RSA.

    It is difficult for most anglers to envisage Sea Fisheries Committees fulfilling that role.


    6) Regional Considerations

    The characteristics of Recreational Sea Fisheries varies considerably around the UK, with geological and marine conditions, and the presence of different species, and predominance of different species, leading to very different approaches as to how the local RSA sector operates.

    Management tools suitable for conditions and species in one region might be meaningless, or extremely detrimental in another.

    The strategy needs to recognise and emphasise the different approaches that will need to be developed regionally, with perhaps (for example) investment needed in facilities to maintain and operate a deep-water charter fleet in one region, whereas access to parking along popular angling beaches, and protection of the close inshore Recreational Fish Stocks of more relevance in another area etc


    7) Tone of voice

    Several people have commented on the ‘tone of voice’ of the document, finding it diffident and timorous, rather than making clear, bold statements of intent, especially in areas where it seems to concentrate on the negative impact of some proposals on other stakeholders, rather than clearly spelling out the benefits that can be achieved for the enhancement of the recreational sea angling experience.

    There should be a greater emphasis on expected outcomes, and how these will be monitored and measured to ensure delivery of the benefits expected, and with clear timescales stated.

    Boldness and commitment needs to infuse the language and tone of voice of the document.

    There is a need to set out in clear, succinct, and precise terms exactly what measures the strategy will encompass and how these will benefit Recreational Sea Anglers (perhaps in a bullet point summary?), so that all anglers, including many not used to reading large, sometimes complex documents, will have a very clear idea of what is being proposed, and how this will impact upon their fishing.


    Cool Need for Science

    Many, particularly inshore, species are of particular interest to Recreational Sea Anglers but have little ‘commercial’ value, eg flounder, mullet, wrasse etc.

    However, their recreational value does make them economically important and ,as changes occur within the marine ecosystem, the factors that lead to abundance or scarcity of species in the recreational sea fishery need to be far better understood.

    The rapid decline in flounder numbers is an example of a very important recreational species that urgently requires research.

    In any strategy concerned with enhancing the recreational sea angling experience, there must be a commitment to research and science in order to better understand the recreational sea fisheries, and the RSA sector itself, and the measures that can be taken to ameliorate negative factors and to promote positive measures where these are needed, or could be advantageous to increasing the value of recreational sea fisheries.

    9). Communication Policy

    A recognised problem with the RSA sector, is that the majority of participants do not belong to any club or RSA organisation, nor do they often read the several publications devoted to the sector. Similarly with many small businesses operating within the sector.

    If they do hear of initiatives or developments within the sector it is often through word of mouth, when the facts do become distorted and often issues are taken out of context, and only at a very late stage in the progressing of initiatives.

    In delivering a strategy, it will be important to engage fully with all interests within the Recreational Sea Angling Sector and a clear communications policy needs to be developed as part of the strategy to ensure that the strategy itself, and any measures adopted within the strategy, are communicated in a timely and efficient manner down to the grass-roots sea anglers, small angling businesses etc, as well as to the major angling representative organisations.

    Such a communications policy needs to be active, rather than passive (ie not merely relying on people to find available information, but actively presenting information to them), and will require avenues of distribution to be identified and developed.


    10). Delivery and Timescales

    A weakness of the current strategy document is that it fails to adequately differentiate between what is merely aspirational and what is actual commitment.

    Where delivery of measures is an important aspect of the strategy, this should be stated, together with realistic timescales, earliest, probable and latest.

    Projected outcomes also need to be stated, together with timescales.

    This will give a much clearer idea to many people as to what all of this will actually mean in practice.

    Some elements can be delivered quite quickly, others will take some time to bring to fruition.

    Again distinction needs to be made between possible ‘quick wins’ to be delivered relatively soon, and other measures that will take considerably longer to develop.

    Otherwise expectations may be unreasonably raised with inevitable negative consequences as to the perceptions of DEFRA’s willingness to deliver when benefits fail to materialise quickly.



    11). LRROs

    Recent changes to EU legislation may mean that some benefits previously thought to require new legislation, perhaps through a Marine Bill, might now be possible through using Legislative & Regulatory Reform Orders (LRROs) and DEFRA should explore the potential for delivering some benefits more quickly through the use of LRROs.





    Further Consultation and Development of the Strategy

    Such an important document as this, is likely to influence the development of our recreational sea fisheries for many years to come, and perhaps lead to the greater development of the Recreational Sea Angling sector, bringing societal benefits, not only of increased business opportunities and support for more livelihoods engaged directly or indirectly in the sector, but increasing the quality of life and sense of well-being of many more participants.

    Comparatively few people have been involved in it’s drafting, and we would expect a much wider consultation to develop the strategy further, including the opportunity for angling interests in all the regions to have the opportunity to meet with DEFRA, and to discuss the strategy in some depth, through a series of regional meetings at times and places that will be convenient to grass-roots angler participation.


    We are grateful to DEFRA for the opportunity to comment on the draft strategy document and hope that our comments are perceived as constructive and useful.

    We look forward to remaining involved as the strategy is further developed and implemented

    Suggested changes to the Strategy Summary:

    RECREATIONAL SEA ANGLING (RSA) STRATEGY FOR ENGLAND

    SUMMARY

    • The English Strategy has been developed by the Inshore Fisheries Working Group, RSA subgroup, in line with the recommendations made in the Bradley and Net Benefits report, recognising the value of RSA to the UK economy.

    • The aim of the RSA Strategy is

    “To develop, enhance and improve the recreational sea angling experience in England in a sustainable, holistic and environmentally responsible way”

    An ultimate aspiration is for the Strategy to form part of an Ecosystem Based Approach to the Marine Environment.

    The strategy recognises that a management regime focussed on providing access to more and bigger fish, of the species that Recreational Sea Anglers target is key to delivering an enhanced sea angling experience.

    • The Strategy establishes an overarching framework of key elements, setting out a range of possible measures under each and the appropriate bodies to take them forwards. It identifies the work already started at local and national levels to incorporate RSA stakeholders in fisheries management decision making. The Strategy also identifies how integration, implementation and delivery of RSA requirements will be achieved and assessed to measure success. Specific tools and detailed measures will depend on the objectives of each project then pursued.

    • There are a number of common objectives shared by users of the Marine Environment, particularly commercial and recreational fishermen (an example would be useful here) The benefits derived from an RSA Strategy have the potential to reach more widely than just anglers including spin-off benefits for biodiversity, socio-economics, social inclusion, tourism etc. Enhanced media communications of the full benefits of the Strategy to a wide audience are therefore an essential element as is the promotion of collaborations which are embedded across the Strategy. It is also acknowledged that the characteristics of a management regime optimised to produce a better Recreational Sea Fishery is different to a regime focussed on producing a ‘commercial’ yield, ie the need to maintain a more natural age structure within the stock, producing larger specimen fish of increased recreational value.
     
  3. Baramundi Bob

    Baramundi Bob Super Leeds United !!!

    • The key elements of an RSA Strategy include:

    Fisheries Management: Developing a management framework that adequately reflects the needs of the RSA sector alongside other stakeholders in fisheries management decisions at national and local levels.

    Species, Stock Impact and Habitat Management: Using a range of management tools to improve stocks generally, as well as developing management plans for species of particular interest to anglers. Creating, Improving and Protecting inshore habitats and utilising different mechanisms that could introduce angling-only areas.

    RSA Management: Identifying a way to develop the RSA sector through improved information and communications, participation in fisheries management, revenue generation for RSA projects and effective enforcement, ensuring that benefits for anglers are clearly identified. Developing flexible measures to manage ‘extractive’ fishing to ensure vulnerable stocks have adequate protection.

    Codes of Conduct and Best Practice: Building upon work done to date to promote responsible angling practices, focussing on environmental protection, safety and personal responsibility.

    Access and Development: Developing and funding RSA support elements to enhance the angling experience, such as development of organized angling introduction schemes, improving safe access to fishing marks, and boat launching facilities, investment in infrastructure that supports the recreational charter fleet, and provision of amenities and enabling broader participation in RSA.

    Communication: A cross cutting element that underpins the success of the Strategy. Identifying ways to improve communication and information sharing within and between sectors and encouraging collaboration to take action on common objectives.

    Information and measurement: Improving knowledge and understanding of RSA and associated fisheries to provide the evidence needed to identify clear goals and to inform decision making and monitoring the success of the Strategy. Developing a nationally consistent approach to collecting angler catch data for use as a key inshore monitoring and feedback tool.

    Implementation and success criteria: Establishing how to measure success of the Strategy in both the short and long terms and provide the mechanism to ensure the Strategy is reviewed, the objectives remain current and that delivery of the agreed outcomes is achieved.


    Appendix A
    Net Benefits Report Recommendations

    9.6.3 Developing the recreational sea fishing sector
    Summary

    •The recreational fishing sector is a potentially high contributor to local
    economies in coastal areas.

    •There is a need for better data on the value and contribution of this sector.

    •Fisheries management policy should recognise that sea angling may, in
    some circumstances, provide a better return on the use of some resources
    than commercial exploitation.

    Role of the recreational sector

    The majority of recreational sea angling takes place in the inshore zone. In
    2002 around 2 million people went sea angling at least once in England and
    Wales; there is no comparable data for Scotland and Northern Ireland. The
    total expenditure by sea anglers in the UK on their sport (eg on fishing
    equipment, travel, food and accommodation, etc.) is estimated to be at least
    £1 billion annually.

    The quality of the sea angling experience is reported to have diminished in
    line with the decline in local fish stocks, resulting in lower UK trip rates by
    serious anglers and an increase in angling trips overseas. It is likely that the
    recreational catch of commercially caught species is significant in some
    areas. In view of their impact on, and use of, commercial fish stocks it is
    necessary to include representatives of recreational sea angling interests in
    relevant fisheries management bodies.

    In some circumstances the economic and social benefits of sea angling for
    specific species may provide a greater contribution to society than if they are
    commercially caught. This is the case in parts of many other fishing nations
    such as New Zealand, Australia and the USA, where recreational sea angling
    has been aggressively promoted.

    Governmental responsibility for recreational fishing is often unclear. For
    example, in England and Wales freshwater angling is managed by the
    Environment Agency, but responsibility for sea angling is shared by DEFRA
    and DCMS. A single government organisation should be identified to
    represent the needs of the recreational sector at the national level.
    Recreational sea anglers should also be represented in the fisheries
    management process at the local level.

    There is limited information available to determine the true extent and national
    impact of recreational sea angling on local economies and fish stocks. To
    improve this situation it is recommended that a voluntary licensing scheme is
    introduced, along with provision for sea anglers to provide voluntary catch
    data via a web-based survey system, supplemented by independent research.
    It is also important to improve our knowledge of the impacts of recreational
    fishing through targeted research. Funding for additional research could be
    raised by a voluntary administrative levy administered through existing sea
    angling organisations. For example, a £10 per year levy raised from 40000
    anglers would fund £400,000 worth of annual scientific research.

    Organisations representing anglers at the national level should work with
    national fisheries departments to assess the case for designating specific
    species for wholly recreational use, eg bass.
    Recommendations

    •The UK Government and the devolved administrations should
    determine the most appropriate body in each region to represent the
    needs of recreational sea anglers by the end of 2004.

    •Fisheries departments should ensure that angling needs are
    represented at the local fisheries management level during their
    reviews of inshore management.

    •Relevant departments should determine the funding and administrative
    requirements of operating a voluntary licensing and catch record
    scheme for sea anglers, which would be developed in co-operation
    with representative sea angling organisations.

    •Fisheries departments should review the evidence supporting
    arguments for re-designating commercially caught species for wholly
    recreational sea angling, beginning with bass by the end of 2004.



    Appendix B
    Conclusions and Recommendations of the EFRA committee.

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200405/cmselect/cmenvfru/122/12210.htm#a44

    Recreational sea angling
    130. The SU report estimated that recreational anglers spend around £1 billion per year on their sport and that around 2 million people went sea angling at least once in England and Wales in 2002. [163] It proposed a series of measures to develop the sector.
    Governmental responsibility for recreational sea angling
    131. The SU report identified a lack of clarity within government in respect of recreational sea angling. Responsibility is currently shared by both Defra and DCMS. The SU report therefore recommended that a single government organisation should be identified to represent the needs of the recreational sector at the national level.[164]
    132. The National Federation of Sea Anglers (NFSA) welcomed the recommendation. It told us that dual governmental responsibility had been a major reason why the sector had "struggled … to get a strong, unified voice" in the past.[165] It did acknowledge, however, that there had been some improvement in government recognition of the sector over the last six months and that this change of attitude was to some extent due to the prominence given to the sector within the SU report.[166]
    Inadequate representation at local level
    133. At present, the inshore sector in England and Wales is managed by the Sea Fisheries Committees (SFCs), which were set up under the legislation enacted in 1888. Several angling organisations claimed that the recreational sea angling sector was inadequately represented because the SFCs were dominated by commercial fishing interests.[167] The NFSA told us that most SFCs—which consist of approximately 25 representatives—had "one ministerial appointee representing angling".[168] It claimed that this was not a just representation:
    If you look at the economic impact from sea angling in those inshore waters [up to six miles], it is clearly very significant and, in many cases, superior to the economic impact from commercial fishing. Sea fishery committees which are currently dominated by commercial representation are in fact the wrong way round from what they should be.[169]
    134. The NFSA argued that, in the short term, the membership of the SFCs should be "substantially re-jigged" so that there was a broader stakeholder involvement and more recreational representation.[170] Ideally, however, the NFSA told us it wanted the Environment Agency—which currently has responsibility for freshwater angling—to take over responsibility altogether from the SFCs:
    … the Environment Agency has demonstrated through their connection with freshwater angling that they understand the needs of angling and can marry the needs of angling and the environment together successfully.[171]
    135. This was reiterated by the Sea Anglers Conservation Network (SACN). It believed that the Environment Agency was "the best placed organisation to take inshore management of inshore resources for the benefit of all stakeholders into the 21st century".[172]
    Our conclusions
    136. We strongly support the Strategy Unit recommendations to develop the recreational sea angling sector. We believe that the sector, which has considerable economic value, has been overlooked and under-represented for too long. We are pleased that there seems to have been a change of attitude over the past year in acknowledging the importance of the sector, and we congratulate the Strategy Unit on its contribution in initiating this development.
    137. We support the Strategy Unit proposals to improve and strengthen the representation of the recreational sea angling sector, both at governmental and local level. A single government organisation should be identified to represent the needs of the recreational sector at the national level as soon as possible, perhaps through the creation of a sea angling unit within Defra. We also recommend that the Government consider whether the sector is adequately represented at a local level on the various Sea Fishery Committees in England and Wales.
    Licensing scheme
    138. The Strategy Unit advocated the introduction of a voluntary licensing scheme for sea anglers to improve data on the extent and impact of the sector on local economies and fish stocks.[173] The angling organisations told us they would support the introduction of a licensing scheme under certain conditions. The NFSA stated that a "demonstrable programme" first had to be provided of the benefits which would arise from the scheme for both the sea angling sector and for fish stocks.[174] The SACN also stressed there needed to be "discernible benefits" delivered to the sector before such a scheme would be acceptable to the majority of sea anglers.[175] The SACN believed that the Environment Agency—who are already responsible for the licensing of freshwater angling—would be the most suitable organisation to administer such a scheme.[176]
    Re-designation of species
    139. The SU report stated that, in some circumstances, the economic and social benefits of sea angling for specific species "may provide a greater contribution to society" than if commercially caught.[177] It therefore recommended that organisations representing anglers at the national level should work with UK fisheries departments "to assess the case for designating specific species for wholly recreational use", such as bass.[178]
    140. The recommendation was strongly supported by the angling organisations. The SACN gave the example of the striped bass fish in the United States, which had been fished "almost to extinction" but re-designated as a recreational species. It claimed that, within a few years, stocks had improved and the value of the fishery had "gone up four or five times".[179] The NFSA told us the species they would like to see re-designated in the UK included bass, conger eel, flounder, ling, rays, mullet, wrasse, tope and smooth-hound.[180]
    Our conclusions
    141. We support the introduction of a licensing scheme for the recreational angling sector. However, before any scheme is introduced, we recommend the Government demonstrate the scheme's benefits for the recreational sea angling sector and for fish stocks to angling representatives. We also recommend that the Environment Agency is considered as the responsible organisation for the administration of such a scheme. We support the re-designation of certain species for recreational use and recognise the benefits that this can bring from both a conservation and economic point of view.

    Appendix C
    Labour’s ‘Angling Charter’

    Ben Bradshaw – “Working with our angling spokesman Martin Salter, my ministerial colleagues in government and backbench Labour MPs, I am determined to do all I can to support angling and to see our fisheries improve.”
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Following the publication of the P.M.S.U. report on how to ensure a sustainable future for sea fishing in all its forms. DEFRA has undertaken a wide-ranging consultation in which Recreational Sea Angling has been an active participant.
    The key outcomes sought from a new Marine Bill are: -
    • Protection of fish stocks and spawning grounds.
    • Creation of Marine Conservation Zones.
    • Introduction of Minimum Landing Sizes for certain sea fishing species.

    • Better managements of inshore waters.
    • Proper representation of recreational sea angling and an overhaul of the current Sea Fisheries Committees.
    • Better control of inshore netting.
    • Management of fish stocks of species such as bass, wrasse and mullet specifically for angling.
    • A commitment to a new Marine Bill is contained in the current DEFRA 5 year plan.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Labour acknowledges the arguments put forward by the National Federation of Sea Anglers (N.F.S.A.) that many of the following actions would need to take place alongside the introduction of a sea angling rod licence.
    - The proper enforcement of regulations and minimum landing sizes.
    - The replacement of the Sea Fishery Committees with an agency charged with marine ecology management – possibly by extending the responsibilities of the E.A.
    - Or, vastly improved representation by sea anglers, charter boat interests and the tackle trade on reformed Sea Fisheries Committees.
    - Restrictions on gill nets in inshore waters and around some wreck fishing grounds.
    - The creation of recreational sea fisheries where commercial fishing is excluded.
    - Increased protection for fish stocks from over exploitation.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Labour recognises that there are some species of sea fish which could return Best Value for the UK, and the overall marine environment, if designated and managed primarily as recreational species.
    Bass are a prime example of this and consideration should be given to their designation as a Recreational Species, managed primarily for the development of Recreational Sea Angling, in accordance with proposals put forward in the Bass Management Plan prepared by the Bass Anglers Sportfishing Society.
    The Bass Management plan has suggested:
    1. Bass Commercial Licences - for the retention of bass.
    2. Bass Carcass Tags – to cap effort, increase traceability and improve enforcement.
    3. Bass Bag Limits – to limit the retention of bass by unlicensed fishermen and anglers and to aid detection and enforcement of illegal fishing.
    4. Closed Season – to protect spawning bass when they are vulnerable.
    5. Increases in Minimum Landing Size – to strengthen the brood stock.
    6. Nursery Area additional measures and enforcement – to protect juveniles.
    7. Near-Shore Netting Restrictions – to protect our fragile coastal zones.
    As well as delivering an angling product that would provide anglers with more and bigger fish, these measures will also allow the development of a sustainable inshore fishery concentrated on producing a high quality, high value product.
    (The full charter can be read at: http://www.martinsalter.com/pdf/charter.pdf )
     

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