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Marine Bill Consultation Responses

Nov 07,2006 SACN


DEFRA have published a summary of responses recieved to the Government's Consultation on a Marine Bill

The full summary of responses can be read at http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/marinebill/responses-summary.pdf

Of particular interest to Recreational Sea Angling are the following sections (some other sections, not listed here, will also be of some interest to RSA):

3.7 Respondents suggested that this coherence and efficiency could be achieved through better integrated fisheries management that incorporates and applies to the whole fishing sector, including finfish, shellfish, mariculture and recreational sea angling.

There was also a suggestion that changes were required to better manage estuaries by providing for an integrated approach between migratory freshwater species and coastal waters and close working with the Environment Agency.

3.13 A number of respondents expressed the desire to strengthen environmental and recreational sea angling representation on SFCs.

There was support for the continued inclusion of the Environment Agency (EA) on the Committees and it was suggested that the EA has an increased role in the management of the inshore sector, particularly with regard to angling.

3.14 Additionally, respondents recommended a general increase to the involvement of local stakeholders in inshore management to ensure that the composition of SFCs fully reflects the community they represent. Some of these respondents expressed concern that representation on SFCs is at present overwhelmingly dominated by the commercial sector.

Recreational Sea Angling (RSA)

General

3.26 This issue received a large number of comments from environmental NGOs, statutory advisors, government agencies, the commercial fishing industry and recreational sea angling (RSA) organisations.

3.27 The majority of responses on this issue recognised that the angling sector should have a role to play in the development of marine and fisheries policy.

Some of these respondents expressed that greater consideration should be given to the management of stocks for RSA purposes to reflect the numbers participating in the sport and the value to the economy generated by RSA.

There was also support in the responses for an angling strategy provided that it’s development was open and transparent.

3.28 However, not all respondents were convinced that the RSA sector could make a relevant contribution to the management of most fish stocks.

3.29 It was further suggested by respondents that if Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are introduced to protect commercial fish stocks, they should also include protection of recreational species and therefore angling as well as commercial fishing activity should be restricted or prohibited in such areas.

Other respondents however, were clear that MPAs (whether introduced on their own or through a system of marine spatial planning) should not ban angling, especially if catch and release practices were adopted. It was also emphasised that there was a need to identify areas of particular importance to RSA, for example the 1nm belt around the coastline.

not ban angling, especially if catch and release practices were adopted. It was also emphasised that there was a need to identify areas of particular importance to RSA, for example the 1nm belt around the coastline.

A chargeable licensing scheme and bag limits

3.30 There was support both from the angling sector and other respondents for proposals in respect of “bag limits” and a chargeable licensing scheme for angling.

It was noted however, that revenue generated by any charging scheme must be used for the benefit of the sport and that before a charge was introduced there should be:

any charging scheme must be used for the benefit of the sport and that before a charge was introduced there should be:

a similar scheme to charge commercial fishermen;

a similar scheme to charge commercial fishermen;

bans on destructive fishing practices;

bans on destructive fishing practices;

management measures (such as increased minimum landing sizes) to re-build fish stocks around the shores for the benefit of RSA; and

management measures (such as increased minimum landing sizes) to re-build fish stocks around the shores for the benefit of RSA; and

a greater role for anglers in decision making on fisheries matters.

3.31 Suggestions for how a chargeable licensing scheme might benefit the sport included:

a greater role for anglers in decision making on fisheries matters.

3.31 Suggestions for how a chargeable licensing scheme might benefit the sport included:

general enhancement and development of sea angling including coaching and events, etc;

general enhancement and development of sea angling including coaching and events, etc;

better access to angling sites on the coast;

better access to angling sites on the coast;

the introduction of a Code of Conduct for anglers; and

the introduction of a Code of Conduct for anglers; and

better data gathering from the angling sector.

3.32 A suggestion was made that any new chargeable licensing scheme for recreational sea anglers could be integrated with the current rod licence operated by the Environment Agency (EA) for freshwater angling.

This might save on administration costs and make it easier for applicants given that many sea anglers will also hold a rod licence issued by the EA.

3.33 The following suggestions were made regarding the introduction of bag limits for anglers:

better data gathering from the angling sector.

3.32 A suggestion was made that any new chargeable licensing scheme for recreational sea anglers could be integrated with the current rod licence operated by the Environment Agency (EA) for freshwater angling.

This might save on administration costs and make it easier for applicants given that many sea anglers will also hold a rod licence issued by the EA.

3.33 The following suggestions were made regarding the introduction of bag limits for anglers:

bag limits are accompanied by reporting requirements to improve enforcement;

bag limits are accompanied by reporting requirements to improve enforcement;

the criteria for deciding which species should be subject to baglimits must be clearly defined based on sound ecological and management objectives; and

the criteria for deciding which species should be subject to baglimits must be clearly defined based on sound ecological and management objectives; and

if licences and bag limits were introduced for anglers, the new measures must also apply to all non-commercial fishing activities including spear gunners, those using pots and nets etc.

3.34 However, a number of respondents from the angling sector made clear their opposition to the establishment of new measures to restrict RSA for the reasons listed below:

if licences and bag limits were introduced for anglers, the new measures must also apply to all non-commercial fishing activities including spear gunners, those using pots and nets etc.

3.34 However, a number of respondents from the angling sector made clear their opposition to the establishment of new measures to restrict RSA for the reasons listed below:

they considered that angling has a lower impact on fish stocks compared with other exploiters of the marine environment, particularly as many anglers adopt a practice of catch and release, and therefore the proposed restrictions are unjustifiable;

they considered that angling has a lower impact on fish stocks compared with other exploiters of the marine environment, particularly as many anglers adopt a practice of catch and release, and therefore the proposed restrictions are unjustifiable;

it was considered that the effectiveness of bag limits would be difficult to measure due to other pressures on fish stocks;

it was considered that the effectiveness of bag limits would be difficult to measure due to other pressures on fish stocks;

that these proposals would unjustifiably interfere with the public right to fish; and

the practicalities of enforcing and running such schemes was questioned.

that these proposals would unjustifiably interfere with the public right to fish; and

the practicalities of enforcing and running such schemes was questioned.

the practicalities of enforcing and running such schemes was questioned.

Charging the commercial sector

3.35 Opposition to the introduction of a charging scheme for fishermen came mainly from commercial sector respondents.

It was considered such a scheme would place UK fishermen at a disadvantage over their foreign counterparts who largely fish the same waters and serve the same markets.

A number of these responses noted however, that although the fishing industry is not sufficiently profitable to sustain a charge at this time, the concept of charging was accepted in principle.

3.36 Other responses supported charging to recover enforcement costs, stock assessments, and other management expenses in order to give the industry a better stake in the management process and that provision should be made to recover costs from both commercial and recreational fisherman.

It was recommended that the costs recovered be used to provide service to fisherman and for improved fisheries management.

There was a suggestion that a proportion of the revenue raised from any charging scheme should go to CEFAS to increase research into inshore stocks.



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