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Minister abandoned fisheries science

Nov 26,2007 SACN

Minister abandoned fisheries science,  says MP

The government has “flown in the face” of its own fisheries advisers, Cefas (the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science), in refusing to increase the minimum landing size of bass.

The decision looked after the short-term interests of the inshore commercial fishing fleet rather than the long-term interests of the species and the environment, according to Martin Salter, the government’s own parliamentary spokesman on angling.

He told the House of Commons (on November 22) that just two years ago Cefas had recommended the size should be increased.

“It is incumbent on us to take the long-term view. The science shows that, although increasing the minimum landing size for bass would mean a short-term depletion in the fish available to be … caught by the commercial sector, there would be a long-term increase.”

Thanking him for expressing the anger and dismay of sea anglers at the decision, Richard Ferré, the chairman, of the NFSA said in a letter: “We are not naïve enough to expect an immediate U-turn but hopefully it will encourage the minister to take some other rapid actions to rebuild confidence.”

Mr. Salter said increasing the landing size to 45cm would double the weight of sea bass which was a valuable recreational fishing species. “Just as people spend a lot of money to catch quality salmon - far more than salmon would ever fetch on a fishmonger’s slab - people will spend a lot of money to enjoy quality recreational bass fishing.”

The optimum spawning size for female bass was 42cm. It was simple conservation to give every species the opportunity to breed once to promote sustainable fishing.

Mr. Salter said he had tried to make a case for a sea angling licence but he absolutely agreed with the National Federation of Sea Anglers that this could only happen if there was a significant improvement in the sport available to sea anglers.

The minister’s decision had “driven a coach and horses” through the government’s new strategy for recreational fishing and through any attempt to make a case for a licence.


National Federation of Sea Anglers
Hamlyn House, Mardle Way, Buckfastleigh, Devon  TQ11 0NS
Chief Executive:  David Rowe
Tel: 01364 644 643   Fax 01364 644 486  
Chief Executive:  David Rowe
Tel: 01364 644 643   Fax 01364 644 486  

e-mail: ho@nfsa.org.uk


Promoting and protecting the interests of sea anglers nationwide


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