Let’s go fishing
T here’s nothing like limiting anglers from keeping fish to provoke outrage. The fact we cannot retain any bass caught at the moment, and then only one a day from July 1, seems to have been the final straw that broke the camel’s back.
Yes, widespread opposition to the 2016 bass regulations seems to have stirred sea anglers into making their voices heard. It follows a plea, detailed here last month, from the Angling Trades Association (ATA) for businesses and anglers to make their complaints heard by shouting louder.
So it’s gratifying to hear there will be a peaceful demonstration on April 9 in opposition to the ending of a public right to catch and keep bass. It is hoped the event will attract wider media coverage of anglers’ opposition to the EU legislation. I’d urge those interested to meet at 10am in Rosewarne car park, Camborne, Cornwall, TR14 8BE, for a march to the constituency office of local MP George Eustice, who is also Fisheries Minister. The event ends at 11am.
While it’s easy to sit back and be an armchair warrior, those making this first small step could set the scene for something bigger and should be congratulated.
Having mentioned the ATA earlier, there is an interesting viewpoint from David Mitchell, the Angling Trust’s marine campaigns manager, about how businesses should be making their voices heard too (see page 36).
David reckons that the Government doesn’t get held to account by the angling trade whose businesses, and the jobs they provide, are reliant on anglers continuing to go fishing. He wonders if the Fisheries
Minister would have demanded a better deal for anglers if he knew that small business owners and thousands of employees servicing sea anglers were waiting to tear strips off him if he came home with a bad deal.
He concludes that this is all about to change after the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Angling Trust and the ATA (as reported in this magazine last month).
I noted with interest that the Angling Trust is now urging sea anglers not to assist in a survey that could be used against us. It will not be supporting Sea Angling 2016, a new project to collect data on catches from recreational sea anglers. Commissioned by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), the survey follows up on the Sea Angling 2012 project, which was used to justify the latest bass regulations.
The Angling Trust believes that the Government has refused to take on board any previous recommendations or results that would fairly represent recreational sea anglers in the management of marine fishery resources, so it says anglers should not get involved this time.
Finally, I must congratulate Tom Ascott on the capture of a 66lb 8oz world record shore-caught cod from Norway. Tom, who tells his story on page 108, said: “It absolutely destroyed me and towards the end of the fight I was just praying that it wasn’t going to go on another run because I don’t think my back could have taken any more.” It’s a great tale. Enjoy the magazine.