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:-