Let’s go fish­ing

Sea Angler (UK) - - Wel­come - Cliff Brown, Ed­i­tor

Well done to all those sea an­glers who took part in the protest against the 2016 bass reg­u­la­tions. Our con­trib­u­tor Henry Gil­bey was in Cam­borne, Corn­wall, on April 9 to join those who had sought to make their views known to Fish­eries Min­is­ter Ge­orge Eus­tice.

Such a shame then that Mr Eus­tice had an­other en­gage­ment and failed to show up, although he had no­ti­fied the protest or­gan­is­ers in ad­vance. For those un­aware of the reg­u­la­tions, sea an­glers must re­turn all bass caught in the first six months of 2016 and can keep one a day from July.

While the protest is a first small step by the sea angling com­mu­nity, I can’t help think­ing that, firstly, any event or­gan­ised by the com­mer­cial fish­ing in­dus­try’s lob­by­ists would have mo­bilised many hun­dreds, or even thou­sands of an­gry fisher folk. Se­condly, it would prob­a­bly have taken place in West­min­ster to max­imise na­tional me­dia cov­er­age and the num­ber of po­ten­tial pro­test­ers.

Nev­er­the­less, the will­ing band of sea an­glers who took the trou­ble to travel to Cam­borne cer­tainly got the ball rolling in terms of the di­rect ac­tion that many cam­paign­ers have been call­ing for pri­vately for many months. They even had a spe­cial call-to-ac­tion logo – At­ten­tion All An­glers (pic­tured top right).

As Henry stated in our re­port of the event on page 108: “I never thought I would see the day when sea an­glers here in the UK felt com­pelled to gather to­gether and go on a protest march, but this is ex­actly what hap­pened.”

Sea an­glers car­ry­ing ban­ners, flags and plac­ards were peace­fully but an­grily voic­ing their dis­plea­sure at the bass fish­ing reg­u­la­tions.

Henry asks: “Is this the start of sea an­glers in the UK fi­nally com­ing to­gether and pre­sent­ing a united voice for bet­ter pro­tec­tion of our wa­ters and our fish stocks?” Let’s hope so.

The pic­ture above shows vet­eran cam­paigner Mal­colm Gil­bert ad­dress­ing some of the pro­test­ers; the stal­wart of the Cor­nish Fed­er­a­tion of Sea An­glers sug­gested the Fish­eries Min­ster was dig­ging him­self deeper and deeper into his own pit of in­com­pe­tence.

IL­LE­GAL SALES

It seems that not a week passes without a new de­vel­op­ment in the bass ban saga. It was in­ter­est­ing to see a new cam­paign (‘Looks Fishy? Don’t Risk It’, be­low) launched on April 11 by the Ma­rine Man­age­ment Or­gan­i­sa­tion (MMO) to tar­get the il­le­gal sell­ing of fish.

Buy­ing or sell­ing fish through il­le­git­i­mate sources dam­ages the fish­ing in­dus­try, fish stocks and long-term fu­ture of the ma­rine en­vi­ron­ment. While many will point to ev­i­dence of il­le­gal prac­tises in com­mer­cial fish­ing, we can­not deny that some an­glers are not in­no­cent in this mat­ter ei­ther. Fish caught by recre­ational an­glers can­not legally be sold and should not be pur­chased. A com­mer­cial ro­dand-line an­gler makes this point in an opin­ion piece kick­ing off our let­ters pages on page 34.

Now the MMO is ap­peal­ing for the pub­lic to anony­mously re­port po­ten­tially il­le­gal sales of fish to Crime Stop­pers. It has the sup­port of the Angling Trust, and com­mer­cial fish­ing rep­re­sen­ta­tive bod­ies. You can find out more by turn­ing to page 109.

Away from the bass ban, it’s great to see the weather im­prov­ing and that you’re get­ting out there and catch­ing an amaz­ing va­ri­ety of fish, in­clud­ing some crack­ing plaice, tur­bot, rays, black bream, pol­lack and much more be­sides. As usual, we’re pub­lish­ing a whole host of your great catches in this is­sue, start­ing on page 108.

Fi­nally, con­grat­u­la­tions to the win­ners of our Penn Club­man con­test; I won’t give away the de­tails here, so turn to page 122.

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