Sunday, 18 January 2009

Anglers face Eurocracy

Sea Anglers are to be brought into the Common Fisheries under plans from the EU according to the BBC.

At a stroke, a large number of jobs will be lost from the tourism industry, huge amounts of paperwork will be created and there will be virtually nil impact on fish stocks.

At the moment, commercial trawling is regulated by the CFP to preserve fish stocks. As is well documented, this has had some benefit to fish numbers, but also leads to lots of problems in terms of paperwork and dumped fish.

Sea anglers are not currently regulated. Some are serious fishermen who catch a reasonable number of fish (but tend to do so in a sustainable way, and still nothing to seriously dent the numbers caught by trawlers) and others fall into the day tripper tourist category. Trippers catch some fish, they tend not to be experts and it is more about fun than fishing. But they have to be taken out by somebody and so boats and skippers are kept in business by this trade. Almost every coastal town will offer these excursions.

Requiring boat skippers to register and apply for licences will cost them money and lead to many of them leaving an already precarious business. And the net gain in terms of fish preserved will be so minimal as to be completely without worth.

Perhaps the most ridiculous aspect of this proposal is that the EU Commission is trying to preserve sole - a severely over-fished species. The trouble is that sole is a sea bed dwelling fish and is almost never caught by anglers.


brian in the tamar valley said...

I was going to write about this subject on my blog but just haven't got round to it yet!

Part of the problem seems to be in the EU "one size fits all" philosophy regarding member states. Although I'm not an angler I can readily see that recreational fishing will have virtually zero effect on stocks so far as this country is concerned.

Don't the bureaucrats understand? Or perhaps they don't want to understand!

Peter Mc said...

Sea anglers may catch a fair number of fish, but unlike bottom trawlers we don't destroy the seabed, are selective in the fish we target and (in my experience) let many go alive rather than dead as bycatch for the crabs.

When governments place financial restrictions our ability to take risks to get our own food, they're asking for bricks through windows.

Here (Whitby) sea anglers contrbute heavily to the local economy. I am certain that the licenses would be followed by quotas and an extensive enforcement body. I am beginning to see why people loathe and detest the EU.

Tom said...

Do you think that this will have a major impact down in Cornwall? I'd be interested in your thoughts.

Tom Allan.