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Draft Marine Bill Launched

Apr 03,2008 SACN


This morning SACN attended an event to publicise the launch of the Draft Marine Bill at Whitstable in Kent, where Hilary Benn, Jonathan Shaw and DEFRA's Rodney Anderson mingled with stakeholders from the local fishing community, environmental NGOs, local fishery officials and Recreational Sea Anglers after returning from a trip to the offshore Wind Farm off the North Kent Coast.

A meeting in London later this evening will officially launch the draft bill which is available on the DEFRA website at:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/marinebill/

The deadline for responses to the 500 plus page document need to be in before the deadline on 26th June 2008, and SACN are encouraging anglers and angling organisations to respond with their views on the proposed legislation.

Although there will be many aspects of the bill that will affect the UK Recreational Sea Fisheries, the anglers who fish them, and the many businesses and livelihoods dependent upon them, such as reform of the Sea Fisheries Committees, the establishment of Marine Protected areas in various forms and coastal access, the parts of the bill that directly relate to or mention Recreational Sea Angling (RSA) are listed below.

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Recreational Sea Angling and unregulated fishing

3.107 The draft Bill extends powers in the Sea Fish (Conservation) Act 1967 to regulate recreational sea angling from the shore and other unregulated fishing activity.

Currently the Act generally only governs commercial fishing activities conducted from vessels.

For certain species or in certain circumstances, the lack of a power to regulate recreational fishing from the shore could limit the effectiveness of a specific  conservation measure.

3.108 The powers would allow the introduction of a ‘bag limit’ for particular species of fish (i.e. a limit on the number of fish which can be retained in any specified period) and allow a maximum size or a size range to be set for species of fish.

The powers in the draft Bill would only be used to extend controls to activities on conservation or enforcement grounds.

Any use of the powers would be through secondary legislation and would be subject to consultation.

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Section 10

(iii) Introduce enabling powers in the Bill to ensure existing conservation powers can be used to manage recreational sea angling and other currently unregulated commercial fi shing activities;

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Marine Fisheries

219. SFC reform will allow for greater protection of the marine environment through more timely and effective management measures.

Improved regulation of angling and unregulated commercialfi shing will also help deliver fisheries and marine environment conservation benefits through improved protection of fish stocks and habitats.

Powers to charge for fishing vessel licences will present an opportunity to influence fishermen’s behaviour, for example by providing incentives to deploy more environmentally responsible fishing practices.

In addition, changes to fisheries enforcement will act as an increased deterrent to illegal fishing, with consequent benefi ts for the marine environment.

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Marine Fisheries

19. Proposals to strengthen marine fisheries and environmental management arrangements will mean more effective action can be taken to conserve fish and shellfi sh stocks.

Safeguarding these stocks will bring benefits to the enterprises that reply upon them such as the fishing industry, ancillary businesses and those working in the recreational sea angling sector.

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Health Impact Assessment

47. We are confident that the Marine Bill proposals will not raise any negative health issues.

Moreover, the environmental and social benefits offered by the package of proposals will contribute positively to public health.

There is much evidence to show that a diet including fish and shellfish can improve human health, as commented on by one respondent to the White Paper consultation.

Therefore the Marine Bill’s aim of reducing the risk of decline in fish and shellfish stocks will play a part in contributing to this health benefit.

In addition, conserving important species and habitats through the designation of a network of Marine Conservation Zones will improve genetic diversity in the marine area, increasing the opportunities for medical research.

Members of the public will also benefit from maintained or improved physical and mental wellbeing as a result of visiting better protected marine and coastal areas, an important benefi t offered by marine and coastal areas according to some White Paper consultation respondents; “research shows access to the coast and sea makes a major contribution to people’s physical and mental wellbeing and cultural identity”.

Additionally studies have shown that angling has a social benefi t contributing to societies’ overall well-being;

in this respect the proposals will have a positive impact as the measures proposed are designed to enhance the angling experience over the long term.19. Proposals to strengthen marine fi sheries and environmental management arrangements will mean more effective action can be taken to conserve fish and shellfish stocks.



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comment Comments (1 posted) 
  • Would the SACN like to make a statement on what they as an angling representative body will be doing to secure compensation for the charter boat skippers from Whitby who will be put out of business by the introduction of a sea fishing bag limit ? Please remmeber that many of these guys have paid in excess of £100,000 for angling boats that will be rendered useuless if a bag limit is introduced. Will SACN be working to ensure they are fully compensated for the boats and future loss of income.
(Posted on April 3, 2008, 5:00 pm Glenn Kilpatrick)


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