Thursday, 21 January 2016

New measures to protect bass stocks are 'unacceptable', say recreational sea anglers.

Recreational sea anglers in West Cornwall say that a package of Government measures designed to protect bass stocks are "completely unacceptable" and are demanding an explanation from Fisheries Minister George Eustice.
As part of a wider European Union initiative designed to arrest the decline of bass stocks, for six months from the start of this year, all recreational anglers throughout the UK will not be permitted to land any bass – if fish are caught, they have to be returned to the sea.

At the same time however, commercial gill netters will be permitted to catch 1,300 tonnes in four of those six months, a rise of 300 tonnes from their previous quota.
Malcom Gilbert, the conservation officer for the Cornish Federation of Sea Anglers (CFSA), says recreational sea anglers are fully behind the drive to restore bass stocks but the new proposals "make no sense" and are "completely unacceptable".
"Anglers have been saying that the bass fisheries need protecting since the 1970s – we have been campaigning for better conservation measures for years," he said.
"But the way to do it is to stamp down on everybody - recreational anglers take the least amount of fish yet we are being hit by a big stick while commercial fishermen are being allowed to catch even more fish. It really is inexplicable."

Mr Gilbert has written to Mr Eustice, the MP for Camborne, Redruth and Hayle, saying that the new package of measures, due to be rubber-stamped by the EU this week, are flawed.
He claims that his constituency houses a "huge" number of recreational anglers – "probably the highest percentage of any constituency in Cornwall" – and that the MP is "playing with fire" if he does not come up with a convincing explanation for the measures in their current form.

"Rather as people who go out picking blackberries from hedgerows think it is their historic right to do so, so anglers believe it is their right to catch fish from the sea to feed their families," he added.
"At a stroke that right is being removed without any consultation yet they would be prepare to forgo this right if it was part of a proper, well-thought out scheme to ensure the future of the species."
Peter Maddern, secretary of Mount's Bay Angling Society (MBAS), agreed with Mr Gilbert that the situation was unfair.
Full story courtesy of the Cornishman newspaper:

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