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Bait Collection Ban Proposed for Kent and Essex

Nov 12,2006 SACN


SACN has learned that a previous vice-chairman, and current committee member of the Kent & Essex Sea Fisheries Committee, has written to the committee proposing byelaws to prevent the removal of any worms, crabs and crustaceans, and undersized fish for use as livebait, in the Kent & Essex SFC district.

(The text of the letter which has been posted onto various angling internet forums is reproduced below).

Intriguingly, it has been suggested that there is more behind these proposals than at first appears to be the case, and the letter is merely a device to attract the interest of both anglers and commercial fishermen in an attempt to persuade them to attend the next statutory meeting of the committee on the 20th November to hear details of a more fundamental issue that will adversely affect both angling and commercial fishing within the district. 

The meeting on the 20th November starts at 10am and will take place at the Thurrock Hotel, just off the M25 on the Essex side of the Dartford Crossing.

Location of Thurrock Hotel

(There is usually a 'public gallery' at K&ESFC meetings, and members of the public may sometimes be allowed to addresss the meeting at the discretion of the chairman.  After the meeting, there is usually an opportunity to mingle with committee members).

(see: Engaging with Sea Fisheries Committees ) 

A number of anglers who are unable to make the meeting have chosen instead to write to the committee.

Kent & Essex Sea Fisheries Committee

The Ice House

Military Road

Ramsgate

Kent CT11 9LG

Telephone 01843 58531

email:

Clerk - joan.taylor@kent.gov.uk

Chief Fisheries Officer - joss.wiggins@kent.gov.uk

 Dear Committee

With a change of byelaws on Bass and of probably Tope and smoothound we need to look to the future to protect the Marine enviroment within our district.

We are told that there is room and plans to develope a huge recreational and sport fishery.

It is my and others belief that the local environment could not cope with increased pressure on bait production to satisfy the needs of an increased baited hook fishery.

The local beds for worm and shell fish are at breaking point,with increased demands from other areas,as well as our own,this could be an enviromental disaster.

Birds on the mudflats could starve and with huge numbers of Bass we have to feed they also could starve.

There is already evidence that the young Bass in the upper reaches of our district are eating everything that moves.

This could well be the reason that peeler crab numbers are well down this year.

Just in case this happens we should have legislation in place to protect and manage.


I would there for like to propose that we make some byelaws to protect the fisheries.

Byelaws to ban and the removal of;

1) ALL WORMS FROM WITHIN THE FISHERY TO BE USED AS LIVE OR DEADBAIT.

2) ALL CRAB AND CRUSTACEANS FROM WITHIN THE FISHERY AS LIVE OR DEAD BAIT.

This would stop the barbaric removal of legs and claws from creatures when still alive just for sport.The barbaric method of placing a hook into a living creature just for sport!

3) ALL UNDERSIZE FISH TO BE USED AS LIVE BAIT (THIS APPLIES TO EELS MAINLY,WE WOULD NEED A MINIMUM LANDING SIZE)

There may not be a threat at the moment but like Tope or Bass there could be and we must take action now to protect and prevent destruction of these valuable food sources.

Yours truly

Paul Gilson

English Nature Paper on Bait Collection

(Note: The author of the proposals recently wrote to Fishing News with concerns at the number of small undersized immature bass to be found in the Thames estuary area, and their possible effects on the food web of the area, suggesting that their numbers should be reduced)

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Update: 21-Nov-06

A good number of Recreational Sea Anglers and bait-diggers from the district turned up at the meeting.

Representatives from both the anglers and bait-diggers were allowed to address the meeting, and the SFC decided not to proceed with any of the proposals.

The chairman noted that the SFC had no powers to regulate worm collection, although some councils required bait-digging to be licensed in their areas.   



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comment Comments (1 posted) 
  • It is being suggested that there is more to this than meets the eye. I wonder what is behind this ? I notice the author of the letter mentions demands on bait beds. As an angler I have seen a shift over the recent years with anglers changing their preference from baits taken from the natural environment to farmed baits. The quality of farmed ragworm is now of such a high standard that I much prefer it over that dug from the shore. The technology to breed lugworms in the same way is also fast improving So an increase in anglers would not necasserily lead to an increase in demand for baits taken from the natural environment. However the right to take bait from the shore is one that dates back many centuries and should not change simply because some commercial fishermen appear to have a bone to pick with anglers. Kind regards - Glenn Kilpatrick http://www.whitbyseaanglers.co.uk/index.php
(Posted on November 19, 2006, 11:57 am Glenn Kilpatrick)


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