Subtidal Commercial Bass Fishery Planned For Flamborough Area

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Subtidal Commercial Bass Fishery Planned For Flamborough Area

Now Is The Time To Act

The regions bass anglers have until the 3rd of  December 2010 to save the regions bass stocks from commercial netting. North Eastern Sea Fisheries Committee have announced plans to allow netting of sea bass within the intertidal zone (ie close to the shore) within the area of Flamborough head and the Holderness Coast.

Sea Anglers and other interested parties have until the 3rd of December to register their complaints regarding this proposal. Your letters should be sent to :

Ms. Margaret Branson
Defra Sustainable Fisheries
Area 2C, Nobel House, London SW1P 3JR

If you prefer you can do it by email to:

It would be best if individuals could draft their own letters of objection clearly stating why the netters should not be allowed into this area. However if you are unable to draft a letter yourself, please consider copying and sending the one below.

Dear Margeret,

I write with regards to amendment of the North East Sea Fisheries Committee Byelaw xviii, with specific reference to the addition of the introduction of five fixed bass net permits within the intertidal zone.

The proposed area for intertidal bass netting is home to an established stock of sea bass. More importantly, the area of coast within the immediate vicinity of Flamborough South Landing is home to a very large stock of juvenile bass. It is highly likely that this area would meet the criteria for designation as a “Bass Nursery Area”. I feel strongly that this should be examined further before nets are allowed into the area and unrepairable damage is done. Please act now before it is too late.

Further to my main concern as noted above, I feel you must also look at the value of the recreational fishery to the area concerned. Recreational bass angling is of major economic value to coastal communities. It means more spending in local economies by both local and visiting sea anglers. This spending is often greater than any that can be derived from commercial fishing from the same stocks. Kayak, shore and bass anglers from right across the region come to this area to fish for bass. The direct spending of this group of anglers (Fuel, Food, Accommodation, Tackle, Kayaks etc) is far superior to any spending made by individuals involved in commercial exploitation of the stock.

Netting of the intertidal zone means that the commercial netsmen will be targeting the same group of fish which is of importance to the regions recreational sea anglers. If bass numbers are allowed to dwindle away then you can be certain that the impact on local communities will be far greater than any gains made through commercial netting.

Whilst we acknowledge that the regions under 10 meter fleet have had a hard time of things of late, ie most of their cod quota being given to the more powerful (in terms of political bargaining) over 10 meter sector, we must object to your attempts to compensate them by encouraging a bass fishery within the area. Whilst we acknowledge that it is unlikely you will make a complete u-turn on the bass fishery proposals, I would like to propose a compromise.

The above mentioned byelaw aims to allow five fixed bass nets of 400 metres each into the area. The compromise I propose is :

  • Split the coast into five specific zones.
  • Allow only 1 permit in each of the 5 zones. If you allow more than 1 net into the south landing area of Flamborough the potential effects could be catastrophic.
  • Allow only 1 net in each zone (Ie the 400 yards may not be made up of 4 separate 100 yard nets).
  • Assess the South Landing Area Of Flamborough  For Designation as A Bass Nursery Area.

Many thanks for taking the time to read my letter, and taking it into consideration when looking at the above mentioned Bye-law.

Best regards – Glenn Kilpatrick

History Of The Proposals

The North Eastern Sea Fisheries Committee have announced plans that could see a commercial bass fishery introduced off the coast of Flamborough. A new byelaw which is in the pipeline would allow 5 fixed net permits within the area of Flamborough Light to Withernsea.

We have been unable to obtain any more details such as a timescale and information on public consultation. Should we receive these details in the future we will post them here. Any comments on the proposals should be sent to : Any comments on the proposals can by made in writing to:- Chief Fishery Officer, North Eastern Sea Fisheries Committee, Town Hall, Bridlington, YO16 4LP Or Via email:-

Pre-consultation Document From NESFC

North Eastern Sea Fisheries Committee

Proposed Revision of Fixed Netting Regulations

Advance Consultation


The current fixed engine (netting) regulations, which govern the use of all fixed nets targeting seafish within the Committee’s District, were revised during 2008 restricting intertidal use from a position of open access between November and April, to a tightly regulated and monitored fishery of five permit holders. This permitted fishery is certified by the Marine Stewardship Council and independently audited on an annual basis. In addition the regulations prevent fixed netting for sole by unlicensed vessels and set a derogation for licensed commercial vessels targeting cod between November and March and sole between April and August. The current regulation also provides that between March and October all fixed nets must be set seaward of the 10m depth contour line with a minimum headline clearance of 4m and establishes netting prohibitions at the mouths of the main estuaries including the Humber, Esk, Tees, Tyne and Wear.

The current regulations were made under the 1966 Sea Fisheries Regulation Act and the 1986 Salmon Act which will be revoked under provisions contained within the new 2009 Marine and Coastal Access Act. This will also lead to the revocation of this important regulation if it is not remade and as a consequence there will be no regulation of fixed netting for seafish throughout the Committee’s area between the River Tyne and the Lincolnshire coast.

Revised Fixed Engine (netting) Regulations

It is extremely important that all the current provisions governing the use of fixed nets are retained to protect the MSC accredited fishery, migratory species and other fisheries throughout the Committee’s area.

In addition to retaining all current provisions Officers are informally consulting on the introduction of a new restricted subtidal permit scheme for targeting sea bass. The details of this proposed scheme are as follows:-

o Maximum of 5 permits issued
o Limited to licensed registered vessel of 10 m and under
o Only applicable within an area from Flamborough Light to Withernsea

From the mean low water spring tide between 15 October and 30 April inclusive.

o Limited to a maximum net length of 400m per permit holder

All the provisions will be subject to a new statutory annual review by the full Committee which will take a decision on their continued appropriateness.

Any comments on the proposals can by made in writing to:-

Chief Fishery Officer

North Eastern Sea Fisheries Committee

Town Hall


YO16 4LP


Via email:-

By | 2018-03-23T08:51:26+00:00 November 18th, 2010|Bass Fishing, Commercial Fishing, Featured|16 Comments

About the Author:

Site Administrator Glenn Kilpatrick has a passion for all types of sea angling. Past winner of the Whitby Sea Anglers fishing club on 2 occasions, Glenn now mainly focuses on summer fishing with bass and pollack being his favoured target fish. Glenn now also prefers Kayak Fishing over any other type of Sea Fishing.


  1. Blackknight March 25, 2010 at 7:50 pm - Reply

    I struggle to work out what is going on around Flamborough at the moment. A couple of years ago I attend a series of meetings with Natural England and the local sea fisheries committee where the idea of the Flamborough No Take Zone was first discussed. The last 2 years have seen the involved parties working hard to get the no take zone in place at Flamborough. Now they want to encourage commercial bass netters into the area. It looks like the parties involved are more concerned with making work for themselves and commercial fishermen than they are for fish conservation.

  2. Bucketansponge March 25, 2010 at 8:45 pm - Reply

    Why do NESFC insist that this fishery is MSC accredited,
    There has been no stock assessment nor impact assessment ,but this new extension to the continuing Bass Extinction programme



  3. Crowman69 March 25, 2010 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    We have to stop this! we need everyone to write to the proper authorities,and tell them we need less nets not more.
    Our British Shorelines are being over fished by commercial fishermen, soon we’ll have little to
    no fish left.


  4. Bucketansponge March 25, 2010 at 8:58 pm - Reply

    f you care about the quality of your Angling be at one of these and resist this :::Do not want to hear anyone sayin two years time , “how did this happen ” get off your backsides and be there

    North Easter Sea Fisheries Committee Officers have scheduled three meetings to discuss issues of local importance.
    The meeting will include:-
    – Future fisheries management & proposed Byelaw changes
    – Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 & Marine Conservation Zone development
    – Shellfish measuring & lobster `V` notching
    – Recreational fishing
    Dates and venues as follows:-

    Whitby Fishing Industry Training School Monday 19th April 2010 6pm
    Bridlington Town Hall Tuesday 20th April 2010 7pm
    Hornsea Methodist Church Hall Friday 23rd April 2010 6pm


  5. mike g March 25, 2010 at 10:21 pm - Reply

    stupid stupid stupid

  6. Frank Aveyard March 26, 2010 at 8:58 am - Reply

    I cannot believe that 5 new fixed net licences are being granted for the east coast [flam/with].
    this shows the true colours of the people who make the rules,we as anglers are being told again and again that a sea licence is needed to fund fisheries to protect stocks and maintain them,for what, to improve the stocks for the netters so they can sell even more net licences.
    the councils that grant these licences needs to think twice,how much will they make from the sale of these licences and how much do anglers put into the local economy, enough said. frank.

  7. admin March 26, 2010 at 9:06 am - Reply

    Hi Frank,

    They havent been granted as yet. This is purely in the pre consultation phase at the moment. Consultation will likely be in spring and into summer. You will have several opportunities to make your feelings know. If you are concerned, what you must do is send it in writing to the address mentioned in the article, and perhaps a copy to your mp.

  8. daniel probert March 26, 2010 at 9:13 am - Reply

    if the 5 licences are passed, could this snowball in years to come?? 5 become 6 become 7 and so on all the way up the coast.

    do us anglers really have any power against the so called decision makers in our government?

  9. jomc March 27, 2010 at 6:09 pm - Reply

    A very stupid idea to benefit a few at the expense of the many.

  10. M Griffin March 29, 2010 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    This article says that there will be no regulation of fixed netting for seafish if the regulations are not remade – How scary is that?

    If the MSC accreditation route will achive this I will support it.

    I would be kicking myself in a 5 years time if I hadn’t done all I could & there were masses of unregulated fixed nets within casting distance.

    If any shore anglers are concerned (as I am) then make your views know in the consultation process (see contacts in the article).

    I too queried the maximum number of fixed net & yes I have responded to the pre-consultation.

  11. Mark April 4, 2010 at 2:02 pm - Reply

    Hi, If these nets get the approval to be fished then i’m afraid your shore bassing will be none existant within a couple of years. I fished a beach called Ballyquin in kerry for years,it was our “banker” spot and i have personally weighed fish there upto 15lb and all fish returned. Went back there in 2004 first morning pre dawn still dark and never had a touch . Once it came light that is when i saw the net,never had a touch all week. Returned in 2005 and again not one bass did we catch off this beach and this was the result of just one net. Hence to say we do not visit this area anymore and because of one greedy person the little village we stay in no longer has the revenue which us anglers brought in. A live bass is worth 3 times as much as a dead one!!! You have been warned.


  12. Robert Quinn April 7, 2010 at 1:01 am - Reply

    I oppose any fixed netting for bass in this area where immature bass congregate in large numbers at certain times of the year. The word slaughter springs to mind !!

    The potential long term income for local angling related businesses from having a sustainble bass sports fishery ,would be far greater than a few commercial boats wiping out this relatively new fishery out in a year or two !!

  13. Sherburn Sean April 13, 2010 at 11:33 am - Reply

    The powers that be have allowed inshore bass netting on the channel Islands. The result is now there are few fish left and people who used to holiday there, including myself, now go to Ireland for their bass fishing.

  14. bigbob1 April 16, 2010 at 7:22 am - Reply

    this country is run by a load of idiots ,

  15. geoff moverley April 20, 2010 at 11:10 pm - Reply

    where is the programme/plans to “restock” after this happens? there is no way that the coastal fishery can be sustained with the approval of these nets, an absolute idiot can figure this out! itll take 2-5 years to wipe out the fish stocks in the area almost completely, and perhaps 20 to repair the damage!
    i thought the “no take” zones implemented was a positive step forward to conserve wildlife from commercial exploitation,albeit a small one, but this is sheer suicide.
    might as well let the trawlers come upto the breakwaters…

    “jomc says:
    March 27, 2010 at 6:09 pmA very stupid idea to benefit a few at the expense of the many”

    how true lets see whose pockets gets lined with this one and where to point the finger!

  16. N.mooorcroft August 30, 2010 at 9:07 pm - Reply

    I truly fear there is nowhere around the coast of great Britain that can sustain over the long term,a wild fishery at this present time nor in the near future and i believe every shore Angler recognizes this

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