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Marine Bill White Paper Launch - 15th March

Mar 09,2007 SACN

The Government's White paper that will lead to the first ever Marine Bill for the UK will take place in London on the 15the March.

The white paper will contain many proposals that will directly and indirectly affect Recreational Sea Anglers in England and Wales.

Within the Marine Bill, the Government is expected to be granted powers to:

  • Establish Marine Protected Areas (where angling may be restricted or banned altogether)
  • Introduce a system of charging anglers (and inshore commercial fishermen) towards the management of inshore waters. 
  • Introduce bag limits for anglers and unlicensed fishermen (in addition to those that can be applied under existing powers by Sea Fisheries Committees)
  • To transform Sea Fisheries Committees, perhaps renaming them to reflect their new powers and responsibilities towards the protection of the inshore marine environment. 

As well as other powers that will be needed to develop benefits for the Recreational Sea Angling Sector, and to manage and regulate the activities and use of marine resources by many other stakeholder interests including marine spatial planning, dredging, wind farms, sailing and many others in a more co-ordinated way than at present.

SACN have been invited to, and will be attending the London Launch. 

An online version of the White Paper will be available from 15th March on the Marine Bill pages of the Defra website:


Hard copies of the White Paper will be available after 10am on the day of publication from The Stationery Office priced £32.50 (ISBN 978-0-10-170472-4).

To purchase a copy, go to:

·         http://www.tsoshop.co.uk/;

·         TSO’s Bookshops in London, Belfast or Edinburgh;

·         e-mail bookorders@tso.co.uk or

·         phone 44 (0) 870 600 5522.

Hearing and speech impaired customers can also communicate via text telephone on 44 (0)870 240 3701.


From the Summary of Responses to the previous consultation on Marine Bill proposals:

Recreational Sea Angling (RSA)


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.

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:

• a similar scheme to charge commercial fishermen;
• 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
• 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;
• better access to angling sites on the coast;
• 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:

• 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
• 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;
• 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.


In the News:

Fishermen Fury at Conservation Plans

"Many of his proposals will be controversial, especially a plan to give sea anglers a stronger role on the sea fisheries committees that manage local fisheries. These have been dominated by commercial fishermen but Bradshaw has decided to change this in recognition of the fact that leisure angling has become a more important source of revenue for many coastal communities. "

Fishing to be banished in network of marine parks

Sandbanks to become fishing no-go zones

Complexity of regulating the sea

Ministers create law to protect fisheries


*** 16 Mar 07 ***

Speech by Rt Hon David Miliband MP at the launch of the Marine Bill White Paper

Consultation on a Marine Bill White Paper, A Sea of Change

DEFRA News Release


Marine bill to 'protect UK seas'

Offshore national parks included in marine conservation plans


Related news

» Marine Bill Consultation Responses
by SACN posted on Nov 07,2006
» Sea anglers fail to bite license bait (Updated 28 Mar 07)
by SACN posted on Mar 18,2007
» Draft Marine Bill Launched
by SACN posted on Apr 03,2008
» Marine Bill Responses
by SACN posted on Oct 18,2007
» ESFJC Meets RSA - Report
by SACN posted on Apr 05,2007

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