Sea An­gler

Sea Angler (UK) - - News - Cliff Brown, Edi­tot

It seems that small vic­to­ries by sea an­glers are an­noy­ing the com­mer­cial fish­ing in­dus­try, who have even called the an­gling lobby well or­gan­ised and well-funded. Yes, re­ally! Fol­low­ing the ban on net­ting of bass dur­ing 2017, I’m told there is more good news re­gard­ing net­ting in es­tu­ar­ies. On March 16, the full com­mit­tee of the Devon and Sev­ern IFCA passed its pro­posed new by-law to pre­vent al­most all forms of net­ting in es­tu­ar­ies within its dis­trict. The only ex­cep­tions are land­ing nets and small sandeel seines.

This move marks an im­por­tant mile­stone in the pro­tec­tion of vul­ner­a­ble fish stocks, not least ju­ve­nile bass that con­gre­gate in large num­bers in South West river es­tu­ar­ies. Other im­por­tant species, such as grey mul­let, salmonids and gilt­head bream, are ex­pected to ben­e­fit too.

The by-law was passed al­most with­out op­po­si­tion by the mem­bers of the au­thor­ity on this oc­ca­sion, which was in sharp con­trast to the pre­vi­ous meet­ing of the IFCA when the progress of the by-law was stalled due to protests from com­mer­cial net­ting in­ter­ests and their sup­port­ers.

The out­come is the re­sult of a long process of pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion and in­ves­ti­ga­tion by D&S IFCA of­fi­cers stretch­ing back al­most two years. Con­sid­er­able fi­nan­cial and hu­man re­sources were com­mit­ted to the process, rep­re­sent­ing a sig­nif­i­cant per­cent­age of the to­tal an­nual bud­get for the IFCA.

The pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion re­vealed over­whelm­ing sup­port for the by-law with more than 300 pos­i­tive re­sponses and only 62 against. The com­mit­tee was at pains to point out the so­cio-eco­nomic ar­gu­ment for the recre­ational an­gling in­dus­try as well as the con­ser­va­tion ben­e­fits.

The re­sult is a vin­di­ca­tion of the pos­i­tive steps taken by com­mit­ted an­gling or­gan­i­sa­tions and in­di­vid­u­als to re­store healthy sus­tain­able fish­eries for the ben­e­fit of all stake­hold­ers. Spokes­men for an­gling in­ter­ests com­mended D&S IFCA for its han­dling of this mat­ter de­scrib­ing it as “ex­em­plary”.

This view was not shared by all. A rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the com­mer­cial net­ting com­mu­nity vowed to fight to get the by-law blocked and also sug­gested that there should now be moves to ban all an­gling from es­tu­ar­ies in fu­ture.

The news comes only a few months af­ter a sim­i­lar by-law was ap­proved by Corn­wall IFCA. Both by-laws have now been passed to the Sec­re­tary of State for fi­nal ap­proval. It is likely that there will be be­hind the scenes pres­sure from com­mer­cial in­ter­ests, through their MPs, to block or de­lay im­ple­men­ta­tion at this stage. This may be a good time for an­gling in­ter­ests na­tion­ally to show their ap­proval for these by-laws.

There has also been leg­is­la­tion to ban fish­ing for black bream for three months at part of Sus­sex’s King­mere reef, with a bag limit of four fish a day in the other three zones of the fa­mous fish­ery. You can find out more by turn­ing to page 106.

We’ve got some great fish­ing in this is­sue with for­mer world cham­pion Joe Arch giv­ing his tips for catch­ing smoothhounds on page 6, some use­ful ad­vice for tack­ling the deep water of Nor­way on page 12 and some great sport with bull huss on page 18. Henry Gil­bey ex­plains how to fish lures in tur­bu­lent water (see page 28) while LRF ex­pert Jake Schogler ex­plains how to make and use the Jika rig (page 38).

Our boat an­gling cov­er­age in­cludes fish­ing for smoothhounds (page 62), black bream (page 66) and tur­bot (page 72), and kayak an­gler Mark Crame ad­vises on tackle choices on page 84.

My col­league Paul Fenech has been busy test­ing rods, so check out his views on the new rods from Cen­tury, Imax and Tronix­pro, in our tackle sec­tion start­ing on page 88.

Once again we’ve got loads of your great catches in the Your Fish­ing sec­tion, start­ing on page 106, and there’s also a chance to win a stack of fish­ing lug­gage on page 115.

There’s so much more to en­joy, in­clud­ing our free tips book­let and bumper Fish­ing Me­ga­s­tore tackle cat­a­logue.

Fi­nally, con­grat­u­la­tions to Stephen Donoghue, of Widnes, who won the Tronix­pro Co­bra Light rod com­pe­ti­tion in Sea An­gler 541.

En­joy the mag­a­zine!

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