Recreational Sea Angling Strategy

Sea Angling Licence Gone – But Bag Limits And No Take Zones Still A Threat.

RSA Strategy – Sea Angling Licence Abandoned

The long time saga the RSA strategy continues. On the 19th March 2008, Only days before the RSA strategy consultation ends DEFRA’s head man Jonathon Shaw announced that he no longer intends to introduce a sea angling licence at the current time. The announcement by the fisheries minister sparked a round of celebrations across the north east, no where more so than in Whitby where the licence could of had a devastating effect on the towns economy and charter boat businesses. However despite the threat of the licence being removed, problems could still lie ahead for the regions charter skippers and fishing clubs.

whitby charter skippers celebrate DEFRA's decision not to introduce a sea angling licence.

Whitby Charter Skippers Celebrate DEFRA’s Decision Not To Introduce A Sea Angling Licence

Bag Limits And Closed Zones Still A Threat To The Regions Sea Anglers.

In Section 5 of the Recreational sea angling strategy under the heading of recreational sea angling controls, potential measures which could be imposed on sea anglers  are outlined. These controls include the introduction of bag limits and no take zones. Although it is widely acknowledged that sea anglers prove no threat to fish stocks at all and there is no scientific evidence to the contrary, it is suggested that bag limits could be introduced and enforced by local sea fisheries committee’s along with areas of the coastline where no one may enter – the first one proposed just down the road at Flamborough Head. Such proposals still have potential to damage the local sea angling scene.

Bag limits could signal the end for local fishing clubs, angling festivals and charter fishing

sea anglers in Filey Fishing FestivalThe fishing clubs and angling festivals of the north east have been a tradition on our coastline for well in excess of 100 years. Locally the Fishing festivals at Filey, Scarborough And Whitby have been running for nearly 300 years between them, these festivals also bring a lot of visitors and money into the local area. Each year anglers from across the UK visit our towns to take part in these fishing festivals where competition is based on fishing for the heaviest bag of fish over several hours. If a restriction on catches were to be introduced these competitions would be finished over night.

It is also noted that nearly every small town and village between the Humber and the Scottish borders has a fishing club of some description, with many competitions dating back in excess of a hundred years. Again the competitions are based on heaviest bags of fish caught over a few hours fishing. Bag limits could signify the end to this tradition.

The amount of people wanting to go sea fishing could also be hit by the introduction of restrictions of catches. After paying: sometimes in excess of 40 pounds for a days angling from 1 of the north east’s charter ports, 20 pounds upwards on bait and lures etc, ?30 or more on fuel to get to the port, and the expenses incurred for accommodation and food for those who stay over for the night before trip, the thought of only being allowed to keep a couple of fish for the pan from their days catch could be enough to see a lot of boat anglers retire from the sport. The introduction of bag limits could also impact negatively on the numerous angling clubs which are to be found in almost every town on the coast between Hull and the borders of Scotland.

No Take Zones Will Only Displace Sea Anglers

Proposed no take zones such as the one proposed for Flamborough Head will also have a devastating effect on the regions charter boats, fishing clubs and festivals. Not only do these areas mean no take, they also mean no fishing and also no entry. So where ever these areas are introduced you will not be allowed to enter. This applies to Dog walkers, winkle pickers, rockpoolers, anglers, and commercial fishermen. This will only serve to displace us from areas we have had access to for over a thousand years, placing more pressure on the areas left open to us. Once again an erosion of our ancient rights by a government who has already removed so many.

There Is Nothing In The RSA Strategy That Will Benefit UK Sea Angling

Having read the recreational sea angling strategy in its entirety I conclude that there is little in there of potential benefit to the sea anglers of the UK, yet there is a whole lot which could damage our beloved sport beyond repair. Bait collectors, competition anglers, charter fishermen and skippers all need to be on guard against the government who seem set to erode the rights we have held for so long. Many thought the licence was the main threat within the RSA strategy, however there is so much more in there that could damage our beloved sport beyond repair