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Issue No 5 – February 2003

Feb 03,2003 Leon Roskilly


WaveMaker

Issue No 5 – February 2003

Informing Anglers – Involving Anglers

Visit us at http://www.sacn.org.uk

Introduction

This Newsletter is produced by the Sea Anglers’ Conservation Network (SACN), a UK based organisation helping in the fight for the restoration of the life of our oceans and seas, and for the rights of anglers.  It is distributed by email to the membership of SACN, and to any angler who is interested in the restoration of angling stocks, the conservation of the marine ecology and the rights of anglers.

Please feel free to pass on your copy once you have finished with it. Better still encourage friends who are fellow anglers to join SACN (it’s free!), or at least to drop us a line to be included on our e-mailing list.

Your views are important to us, if you have anything you want to say, please email us at FishSense@aol.com.  If you have a letter or article for publication in a future issue of WaveMaker, please mark it for the attention of the editor, and clearly state that it is for publication in WaveMaker.

All material published remains the copyright of the contributor.

Items published in WaveMaker are the thoughts and views of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editor and/or the SACN.

Enjoy J

In this Issue:

Editor’s Mark

The WaveMaker editor has his say

Reports

Officers of the SACN are encouraged to file a Quarterly report for publication in WaveMaker, keeping the membership up to speed on what they are doing.  They don’t always find the time!

Neil Foley – Science & Academic Co-ordinator

Tom Pinborough – Campaign Director (Cod recovery)

Bits and Pieces

NFSA Conservation Plan

Marine Conservation Society

National Mullet Club AGM

SACN Application Problems

Your Letters

Trawling damage to the stocks and to the marine environment

Some comments on WaveMaker 4

Editor’s Mark

It seems that ever since the grey ghosts melted from the shallows, as the days shortened and the water of the estuary grew colder, and it became time to put away my mullet tackle for another winter, I’ve suffered a non-stop series of colds, flu, bronchitis, and other non-specific viruses.

This winter plague of viruses draining me of my energy, and my optimism. 

The growing pile of issues that needed to be addressed, but which stayed firmly in the pile waiting for an elusive return to better health surely, didn’t help my black mood either.

And, as always, there were plenty of such issues.

As well as the normal day to day demands of work and family commitments, and myriad other issues of conservation and Recreational Sea Angling, there was the looming annual problem of the destruction of the spawning bass stocks to be addressed once more, and the conclusion of the review of the Common Fisheries Policy. 

Then ICES dropped the bombshell.

The scientific evidence showed that, unless all fishing for cod in the North Sea was urgently halted, there was an almost certain likelihood that they would become extinct.  The seriousness of that situation masking the disastrous states of stocks of other species.

So many times before we have been here, the scientists advising, the fishermen howling, the politicians falling over themselves to appease, and nature continuing along the predictable road, deaf to human needs and politicking.  I really felt a black despair.

Then Tom Pinborough and Glyn Hope emailed me with their concerns and ideas and promptly had their arms bitten off.  Tom agreed to take on the job of Campaign Director for the cod recovery issue, supported by Glyn and his North Wales Sea Fishing website (http://www.nwsa.ukf.net).

And what a brilliant job they did, and from a standing start. Mobilising support for the necessarily stiff stance being taken by those few politicians and bureaucrats who had the vision to see the abyss opening in front of a blinkered fishing industry.

And it wasn’t without opposition.  Self-interest, and the fear of others, produced many arguments to make us pause and examine our chosen direction, but without going into the very complex arguments, it was clear where integrity and the needs of the future would lead us.

At the end of the day, no one seems to have won. 

Certainly not the cod which face a reduced fishing effort, but far short of what’s said to be needed.  Certainly not the fishermen who are losing now in both the short term and the long term.  Certainly not the politicians who were prepared to throw away a possible sustainable future for the fishing industry for short term popularity, and are now being viciously condemned by that industry for not doing enough to protect the jobs of fishermen.

But the profile of Recreational Sea Angling has been raised by the campaign.

Many letters, coming from anglers, have revealed to the receivers that there is another force to be reckoned with.  The political awareness of anglers is growing.

So, now the days are getting longer and the daffodils pushing through the turf.  I’m still suffering the residual effects of yet another cold and facing a huge backlog of things to do.  But now I’m looking forward to cleaning my mullet gear, re-spooling new line, tying new hooklengths and looking for the signs of returning mullet once more.

Recreational Sea Angling has come a long way, and there’s still a long way to go.  But now the number of anglers prepared to get involved is growing, and the issues are better understood by many more.  Much of the angling press, with it’s head buried in the sand of good times past, is increasingly being seen as failing the grass roots anglers, and looking tired and irrelevant for that.

My optimism for the future is coming back J.

Ed

Reports

Neil Foley.

SACN Scientific and Academic Co-ordinator.

Quarterly Report, Year Ending 2002.

Finally my hard work on the academic front has paid off and I have now completed my master’s degree (MSc) with distinction.  In the New Year I am starting a new job and will regain control of my evenings and weekends once more.  Hence, I will hopefully have some more time to devote to SACN matters.  My report for the last quarter is sparse due to the aforementioned time constraints but I have been pursuing the following:

I, like most of you I hope, have written to Commissioner Fischler with regards to CFP reform and the current ‘cod recovery plan’.  From his reply and ‘open letter’ I am gaining some hope for recovery and the establishment of correct management for cod and other marine stocks.  I just hope that the politics don’t get in the way of the science and common sense. 

·  On the home front I have also written to the Taoiseach, the Irish Minister for the Marine and Minister of State for the Marine regarding reform of the CFP, the new cod recovery plan and the Irish Box.  Retention of Irish fishing control over the Irish Box is a major political issue here at the moment.  My own sentiments are the Irish control should be maintained considering the small size and capacity of our fleet, which presents far less fishing pressure than the implementation of open access.  I have, of course, tried to illustrate the angling alternatives available.  Part of this campaign is being organised by Rolf Hogan (WWF) and I would urge everyone to visit his site at: http://panda.org/stopoverfishing

·  Another area of correspondence is that of salmon netting and the KNAPK (the commercial fishermen’s organisation in Greenland) and North Atlantic Salmon Fund (NASF) agreement.  Ireland, Scotland and Norway are the only other countries not to have signed this agreement limiting the netting of salmon.  While not an exclusively marine species I feel it is our duty to support this campaign and I would encourage others to write.

·  My major mission for the first quarter of 2003 is to compile an SACN ‘Academic Package’ for university students/researchers.  The idea of this package is to create an information resource to those working in the area regarding marine fisheries, their management and conservation, whilst also containing information on political decisions and policy.  By providing such information or pointing the reader in the right direction it is hoped that awareness and future policy direction may be enhanced.

If anyone has any questions or comments regarding any of the above topics please do not hesitate to contact me by email (address below).  Our letters are making a difference and the momentum must be maintained. 

I would particularly welcome any ideas or suggestions for the academic package.

Wishing all SACN members a happy and prosperous New Year.

Neil Foley foleyna@medscape.com

Tom Pinborough.

Campaign Director – Cod Recovery.

Cod Campaign Dec 2002

The council of ministers met in late Dec of 2002 and agreed on major issues, including

·  The reform of the common fisheries policy

·  Adoption of urgent recovery measures for some cod stocks in imminent danger of collapse

Realistically the commission’s proposals are a compromise and not a reform as they state.  The proposals should have gone a lot further.

The commission agreed (for cod) a reduction of 65% in fishing mortality which translates into a cut of total allowable catches of 45%, the original proposal was to reduce fishing mortality by 80%, which would have translated into a TAC reduction of 66%.

Proposals for fish caught with cod

Haddock  70%-50%

Whiting   76%-60%

Plaice 17%-5%

The compromise includes in particular a plan for the recovery of certain stocks of cod. This plan does not apply for small vessels (below 10 meters) and covers the North Sea, West of Scotland, Skagerrak and Kattegat fishing areas.

The Irish Sea, the Celtic Sea and eastern English Channel are not part from the plan.

Fishing effort limitation has also been agreed and will become effective from Feb 2003

These limitations will apply to cod fisheries and depending which area, which kind of fishing gear used, the limitations will vary.

For example North Sea trawlers fishing for cod will receive 9 fishing days out of port

Nephrops (eg prawns) fisheries in West Scotland will receive 25 days

Additional days are provided in order to compensate for steaming time between homeports and fishing grounds. Member States can allow the carryover from a month to the next month of up to 20% of fishing days for fishing vessels. The master of a fishing vessel has the obligation to report its landings (over 1 tonne of cod) to the Member State in which the landing is to be made and must ensure that landings (over 2 tonnes of cod) are made only at designated ports.

The cod recovery programme originally closed areas to commercial fishing for the spawning season, this was supposed to be for an initial five-year period, but was dropped after one year in favour of technical control measures.

The technical control measures are shown in the publication listed

(General Fisheries Technical Conservation Rules, Nov 2002, DEFRA publications)

The limitation of days of fishing effort and the TAC cuts supplement the above rules.

Having spoken to CEFAS at Lowestoft the current run of small codling in the North Sea are a direct result of the closed season two years ago, so if the closed season had continued?

The Commission’s recovery plan for certain stocks of cod, as amended, remains on the table and will continue to be the basis of work in the Council.

The Commission will present by 15th February 2003 at the latest any further elements for a decision, which the Council will take before 31st March 2003 with a view to its entry into force on 1st July 2003."

It appears that any boat classed over 10 metres has to comply with all the new Commission’s proposals and the technical conservation rules, whereas any boat under 10 metres are not effected by the TAC’s and limitation of days of fishing effort.  They only have to comply with the technical conservation rules.  In my area 80% of the fishing fleet are under 10 metres, therefore there are very grey areas in the true reporting of fishing landings.

The last time there was a ban on cod fishing by under ten metre boats, all boats were included, charter boats and private boats, the whole issue of under ten metre boats needs addressing

During the preceding weeks to the Council meeting in December, a campaign, expressing the views of U.K. Sea anglers was conducted.

E-mails, letters, postings on bulleting boards and posters in tackle shops were sent out urging  sea-anglers to have a say, and proved very successful in some areas. Having spoken to the office of the fisheries council, they where receiving up to 25 letters a day and received many hundreds in total, and they said they noted RSA views.

Letters were published in national newspapers and occasionally heard on the radio, so the profile of recreational sea angling was raised.

In other areas it was very annoying at the lack of response or the response from various MPs and MEPs for not taking RSA very seriously.

During the campaign it became very apparent at the lack of representation for UK recreational sea angling, a sense of co-ordinated direction and who to lobby to act on our behalf.

Every time the issue was raised on TV or Radio there was all the usual suspects, but nobody representing RSA.  Perhaps a named spokesman is required for the media to contact for future statements. There was a reliance on the WWF and European Angling Alliance to act as spokesman in Brussels.

Sea anglers have the National Federation of Sea Anglers who are recognised by the UK government, they are slowly growing, but at the moment they only have a fraction of UK sea anglers as members, and have very limited resources and funding.

The NFSA needs more members, so it can fully fund and represent sea-angling issues. As more anglers join, the NFSA will grow, evolve and deliver the necessary punch to compete and protect sea anglers’ interests.

All sea anglers should join and NFSA members should actively encourage others to join.

This is the chance to unite and pull in one direction.

www.nfsa.org.uk or 01364 644643

The UK has excellent dedicated, enthusiastic, voluntary campaigners, who have day jobs.

The daily bombardment of information, sifting through it, giving priority to issues, trying to hit deadlines is endless and frustrating.

Recreational sea anglers are being asked to attend meetings, workshops, the new regional advisory councils (RACs), advisory bodies to SPA’s and SAC’s etc., but generally are unable to fulfil these positions.

There is the difficulty to get to meetings (you have to take a day of work) or by the time you get home from work, the people you wish to contact, (Govt departments, MPs, MEPs, fishery committees etc) have gone home.

Reply from the US based Recreational Fishing Alliance (RFA):

“Getting anglers active and involved is never easy.

We are fortunate that we have paid staff to perform many of the tasks, such as attending meetings and lobbying.

Getting the word out to anglers did - and still does mean - extensive travel, visiting anglers and motivating them to become involved.

Garnering favourable press from angling and general news publications is also necessary.

For elected officials, conservation alone is often not enough.

When they recognise that jobs and the quality of life of their constituents is at stake, they are more responsive.

Getting the recreational industry involved is essential.

My suggestion is that you continue to develop your communication network.

Anglers and industry need to exchange information and in turn, communicate your concerns to your elected officials.”

As the NFSA grows, the momentum will build.  The above points and the issues raised in the RFA reply can be achieved more quickly and during normal working hours.

Thank you for responding to the campaign and to all those that helped.

Tom Pinborough

Sea Anglers Conservation Network (SACN)

I fish, I vote.

Mike Heylin.

SACN Executive Group member and secretary of the Specialist Anglers’ Alliance .

Another busy month in the world of angling politics

Martin Salter M.P. hosted an “Angling Summit” at Portcullis House, opposite the House of Commons, on November 18th. Alun Michael, Minister for Rural Affairs, and boss of Elliot Morley at DEFRA attended and gave a well briefed statement on a number of issues affecting angling to members of NAA and the British Disabled Angling Association.

SACN was present in the form of yours truly, also representing SAA, and we tabled papers on Marine Aquaculture and Marine Gravel Extraction as well as The Safety of Anglers In the Countryside.

Roger Baker (SACN Campaign Director – Aquaculture) had provided us with a really good paper on Marine Aquaculture, which is reproduced below.  Unfortunately Salmon & Trout Association (Scotland) have been running this issue nationally and IMO have failed to take on board most of the wider implications surrounding the issue.  It has been seen as a salmon and sea trout issue and the implications of a growth in cod farming and bass farming have been missed.

MARINE AQUACULTURE

THE FUTURE?

Marine aquaculture damages the environment and our sea and salmon fisheries in many ways;

·  Removal of wild fodder fish from the marine food chain damages the recovery of all marine fish stocks.  Five pounds of fodder fish is required to produce just one pound of farmed salmon and now we are planning to farm cod and other sea species in the same way?

·  The by-catch in industrial fishing comprises a high proportion of salmon smolt, which depletes numbers which can return to breed in our rivers.

·  Concentration of polluting waste products under and downtide of the sea cages damage shellfish fisheries and the marine food chain.

·  Produces concentrations of lice on farmed fish which infest salmon smolts going to sea for the first time, reducing the number which return and damaging the wild fish stocks.

·  Treating farmed fish with chemicals to reduce the impact of lice introduces more poisons to the marine environment.

·  Farmed fish escapes damage the wild salmon stocks and destroy the genetic lines of native rivers.

·  Producing salmon with fat levels four times higher than wild fish, so that farmed fish do not deliver the healthy diet which people expect.

·  Producing salmon with concentrations of dioxin and other poisons higher than in wild fish and introducing them to the human food chain.

·  If this industry were to be conducted on dry land it would be properly and heavily regulated.  Our seas are not sewers for the use of fish farmers in an unregulated industry.  The Scottish Executive has consistently failed to address the question and has introduced weak, self regulatory rules for the industry which do not address the concerns of salmon and sea anglers or conservationists.

BRIEFING PAPER: AQUACULTURE

Prepared by the Sea Anglers' Conservation Network's (SACN) Aquaculture Campaign Director (Roger Baker) on behalf of the Specialist Anglers Alliance (SAA) October 2002

Introduction

Stretching westwards from Norway through Scotland and Ireland, rivers and lochs which once teemed with wild fish are virtually bare. Because of a lack of fish, hundreds of destinations have been lost to anglers, as have hundreds of jobs associated with angling and tourism.

Today, two huge multinational corporations, Fjord Cermaq and Nutreco, control over one third of the world’s aquaculture industry. Upwards of £30 million of taxpayers money has been poured into the industry in Scotland alone. Much of this money was used to promote salmon farming and protect it from public anger and accountability.

Former Scottish Office (predecessor to Scottish Executive) Tory Environment minister, Lord Jamie Lindsay, is now chairman of the fish farmer’s representative body, Scottish Quality Salmon (SQS), a tartan label, which protects the interests of foreign owned salmon farms in Scotland. Brian Simpson, Lindsay’s CEO at SQS, smugly refutes all scientific evidence and claims by anglers and environmentalists as, “inconclusive” and “more research necessary”.

Scottish Anglers National Association's (SANA) president is professor David McKay, a former employee of Lord Lindsay as his North Region Director of Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). SEPA has routinely rubber stamped applications for chemical usage by the salmon industry. Environmental campaigners have accused SEPA and the salmon industry of creating a “toxic timebomb” in Scotland’s lochs and rivers.

Well known Scottish game angling writer Bruce Sandison, in an article in the Mail on Sunday (4th Aug 2002), said, “the hidden story of the expansion of salmon farming in Scotland is one of deceit, deception, obfuscation and downright dishonesty on the part of successive Scottish administrations.

Pollution

Open sea cage fish farming, be it tuna, sea bass or sea bream farming in the Mediterranean or salmon farming in Scotland, Ireland and Norway, discharges untreated wastes directly into the sea. It is illegal for land–based factory farmers to dump dung, excess feed and dead animals into the nearest public waterway, but salmon farmers can and do. Currents disperse much of the pollution but some settles below the pens creating anoxic (oxygen deprived) areas and decomposing bacterial mats with the colour and texture of blancmange.

The Dutch multinational Nutreco, the largest fish farming and fish feed company in the world, has long been involved in research looking at the link between eutrophication and fish feed (Talbot and Hole: 1994) but continues to discharge wastes directly into pristine coastal waters. Resulting algal blooms, unseen in Scottish marine waters prior to fish farming, cause financial threats to other industries, serious health threats to consumers of shellfish and the spread of disease to wild fish

Diseases and Parasites

Described as the finest pathogen vector created by mankind, a salmon farm acts as a hothouse for disease and lice and is particularly dangerous when sited in the migratory path of wild stocks of salmon and sea trout (e.g. river mouths and estuaries).

 Infectious disease poses the biggest single threat to aquaculture. Infectious

Pancreatic Necrosis (IPN) and Infectious Salmon Anaemia (ISA) are the latest in a long line of infectious diseases such as furunculosis, to decimate the salmon farming industry.  New diseases are appearing all the time.

Disease outbreaks have also affected the sea bass and sea bream industries in the Mediterranean.  The European Aquaculture Society, for example, has referred to enormous problems with diseases like Pasteurellosis and Nodavirosis affecting sea bass and sea bream (EAS: 1996).  The intensification of culture of sea bass and sea bream "has provoked some severe disease  problems" (Agius and Tanti: 1997).

Fish-farm-incubated infestations of sea lice are particularly dangerous to salmon, sea trout and smolts. Through a magnifying glass, sea lice resemble tiny horseshoe crabs which scuttle across a salmon’s skin eating the mucus, skin and blood, killing the host in the process. Sea anglers, bass anglers in particular, will be aware of the naturally occurring sea lice and may anticipate the consequence of sitting a salmon farm in an estuarine bass nursery area.

Chemicals

The use of chemicals in an intensive disease and parasite-ridden farming industry is understandable. However, sea lice chemicals were designed for use on land animals like sheep, pigs, cattle and chickens. They are extremely toxic to marine life and marine pollution is sponsored in Scotland by the organisation set up to protect it.

The north region of SEPA, where most of Scotland’s fish farms are located, approved 45 uses of sea lice chemicals in 1998. That rose to 104 in 1999, 141 in 2000 and a staggering 296 in 2001. In the same four year period salmon production increased from 110,784 tonnes to 158,000 tonnes last year.

Kevin Dunnion, chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland said nobody knew the effects of all these chemicals together. “Worryingly the speed with which the number and nature of the chemicals being used is outstripping our ability to understand the impact of this cocktail.

SEPA said it kept no accumulated record of the total chemical quantities it has licensed, but accepted there had been a big increase over the last four years. (Scotland on Sunday 24th Feb 2002). At the same time the number of fish farms has remained stable at about 430.

Salmon Farm Feed

The environmental impact of one salmon farm extends far beyond the patch of seabed beneath it. For every pound that a salmon in a cage gains, it consumes commercial feed processed from two to five pounds of small open-ocean fish like anchovy, herring and mackerel. To satisfy the demands of a one acre salmon farm, processors vacuum almost everything from 40,000 to 50,000 acres of ocean. Stocks of small oily fish are now fully exploited worldwide, leaving the aquaculture industry scrambling to formulate substitutes for fish meal and oil.

Escapes

Brian Simpson (SQS) has said that only 1% of farm salmon escape. This amounts to 500,000 fish per year in Scotland alone. Escapees interbreed with wild fish and destroy genetic integrity. A deep bodied salmon with small tail and fins is ideal for spending its life in a share of a cage equal to a bathtub, but poorly equipped to swim thousands of miles across ocean, ascend waterfalls and climb spawning streams.

Drug dependant farmed salmon spread disease to wild fish.

Conclusion

Land-based closed containment systems would stem the tide of pollution from sea cages, prevent escapes, stop the spread of diseases and parasites to wild fish, reduce the need for chemicals, remove the impact on coastal landscapes and the loss of wildland heritage.

The technology required for closed containment systems already exist and is being commercially developed in Canada but it has not been adopted in Europe as farmers dismiss it as too expensive.

Salmon and sea trout anglers need to examine the credentials of their organisations’ officers to determine why they have been singularly unsuccessful in stopping the destruction of wild fish stocks and their members’ sport.

Special thanks to Salmon Farm Protest Group (SFPG) for use of papers and articles from the archives at   http://www.salmonfarmmonitor.org/

And special thanks to Roger Baker for his invaluable inputs on this major issue.  DEFRA can no longer claim that they do not know the problems of the industry or that it is simply a “Scottish” problem.  Hopefully the SACN view will be reflected in the negotiations now going on about the future of the CFP, which envisages a large growth in Marine Aquaculture in the future.

Mike Heylin

Secretary Specialist Anglers Alliance

http://www.anglersnet.co.uk/saa

Bits and Pieces

NFSA Conservation Plan

No one knows for sure just how many anglers fish our coasts.  Apart from crowded holiday beaches, it’s often difficult to look at a coastal view, when the tide is right, and not see figures standing patiently alongside rods.  Then there are the crowded piers, and beyond, on the water, the charter boats packed with anglers whatever the conditions.

It’s a lot of anglers, a lot of votes, a lot of influence.

But only if sufficient numbers of them are prepared to help out, to pay their dues, to put something back.

The National Federation of Sea Anglers is the governing body of our sport.  That is the body that is recognised by Government as representing sea anglers.  But the voice of the NFSA is only as loud as the size of its membership.  What it can accomplish is restricted by the amount that sea anglers financially contribute.

Of all those rods, in all those places, it’s relatively few that are attended by anglers who are contributing to the NFSA.  The many being carried and dependent upon the contributions of the few.  That is shameful.

Tackle such non-contributing anglers and you get some familiar excuses.  ‘NFSA only care about matches and match fishermen’, ‘NFSA are doing nothing while the stocks go down the pan’, ‘If the NFSA were to do something about getting rid of the illegal nets along my beach, I’d join’.

Maybe, in the past, some of that was true, but if anyone has any doubt about the NFSA’s commitment today, they should take a look at this:  http://www.nfsa.org.uk/conservation/conservation_plan.htm

Sometimes people are slow to change their views, clinging on to old thinking as the world around them changes.  Word of mouth spreads the message must faster than anything else.  So, tell your friends it’s time to join the NFSA.

If we could double the NFSA membership, it would still be just a small proportion of anglers fishing the sea, but doubling the NFSA membership would quadruple the amount that the NFSA could achieve, and if we could double it again…….

It just needs the word to be spread.

The Marine Conservation Society

Another organisation that conservation minded anglers should consider joining is the Marine Conservation Society (http://www.mcsuk.org).

This British based organisation is at the forefront of campaigning to protect the marine environment, and all the life that exists there, and actively acknowledges the part that Recreational Sea Anglers play in preserving what we still have.

Through the MCS, conservation minded anglers have the opportunity to engage in a dialogue with others who share our concerns, and to influence the wider engagement of conservationists in the issues that primarily concern us.

As more and more conservationists start to call for protected areas around our coasts, it’s important that the voice of recreational angling is heard in the debate.  Not only to ensure that such areas are created, but also to ensure that recreational anglers are not lumped together with destructive exploiters when it comes to deciding what activities can take place in those areas.

National Mullet Club AGM

Anyone in the area of the Mountbatten centre in Portsmouth on Sunday 16th February might like to drop in on the NMC AGM.

If you’ve ever considered fishing for our elusive grey ghosts, this could be a good place to start.  A chance to meet the experts and buy me a beer.

http://www.Go-Fishing.co.uk/mullet.htm

SACN Application Problems

Recently there has been a problem with the SACN online applications from the website.

If you’ve had problems applying for membership, or have applied and haven’t had an acknowledgement with your SACN membership number, please reapply. 

The problem has now been fixed.
Letters

In a message dated 10/26/02 8:03:14 am GMT Daylight Time, jean-louis.guillou@wanadoo.fr writes:

(For more facility, enclosed a text translated into a translator installed on my PC, excuses me for this approximate translation.)

Hi Léon.

Thank you very much for the differents informations.

If you can allow me, here are some comments. 

All temporary or partial closing down on any or several marine species will bring only a brief lull for populations of fish. For a return to the normal, it would be necessary both to impose stricter quotas and to forbid some practices, as the usage of the trawl under all its forms, because this type of peach engine is not selective.

Besides the fact that a raid trawl all, without no distinction of sizes, neither varieties, the intensive usage of this engine destroys the vegetation of the bottom of the sea, vegetation that serves often shelter for the young fish.

In researches of species targeted by professional fishermen, all the other varieties of fish are systematically rejected to the sea. I have seen a study of IFREMER on rejects of trawlers. For some fish species not estimated by consumers, rejects can reach 100%.

It would be interesting to know if a such study on rejects of fish by trawlers has been made English side by a competent organism - M.A.F.F. or other -. If yes, to make a campaign beside Brussels to ask restrictive measures concerning the trawlers.

What think some you ?

Amity,  Jeannot

Hi Jeannot,

Many in the fishing industry take great comfort from the evidence of stock recovery that occurred when Europe was at war, and as a result very little commercial fishing took place.

Indeed the abundance of fish, following this period of hostility, is considered to be a baseline for fully recovered stocks, and recovery to this level of stock has given the idea to many people that stocks can be recovered if they are 'rested' for a time.

This comforting idea is the reason that many people consider it acceptable to fish a stock down to 'the limit', even when what 'the limit' is, is not clearly defined.  After all, if the worst comes to the worst, a few years of restrictions will have the stock bouncing back, won't it?

Unfortunately, there are several things wrong with this rosy view L

Recent study of paleantological evidence shows that mankind has driven down the productivity of the oceans ever since early man first went out onto the water to exploit the ocean's richness.  The scientists involved speak of a 'fabulous wealth' that existed long ago, and show that even the 'recovered' stocks following the war are a fraction of the potential biological wealth of the oceans.  They also suggest that 'full recovery' from the effects of man's exploitation of the ocean's biology would take tens of thousands of years.

Even then, the limited recovery of the stocks during the war period was from a 'low' point far higher than that which exists today, and nowhere near the level of 'biological collapse' that many stocks are now near or beyond.

What is of great concern is that there appears to be mechanisms whereby once a stock has collapsed from over-fishing, it can never recover.

1)  The gene pool of fish of spawning age is so reduced that there is insufficient genetic diversity in the stock to enable it to adapt to environmental challenges.

2)  A species may need to 'maintain' it's environmental niche.  e.g large cod keep the numbers down by predation, of species that eat its own eggs and fry.  Once there is insufficient adults left to 'defend' its eggs and fry, the species may never be able to recover - its niche taken over by less desirable, and smaller species that thrive once the apex predators have been removed.

Although it is difficult to deny the commercial fishing lobby the opportunity to make money when there seems to be plenty of juveniles for the catching, that is when a ban will have the best effect, allowing plenty of juvenile fish to grow big and spawn themselves, ensuring future productivity. Not when things have become demonstrably close to disaster, and perhaps unrecoverable.

With regard to the damage done by certain types of gear to the structures of the sea bottom, yes this is of great concern and has been for a number of years.

Again, fairly recently, a number of valuable 'cold-water' coral reefs have been discovered in the North Sea, all badly damaged by fishing gear.  These areas and other areas need to be protected.

It's often been said that if rabbits (say) were harvested on land (by airships perhaps), trawling gear that rips up trees, bushes and other habitats, killing many other creatures, the public outcry would be immense.  However, a trawler with wires disappearing below the surface seems innocuous, and few see or appreciate the damage done.

Even worse than what is happening in European seas, is the damage being done by the European fleet to the habitat of the coastal regions of West Africa.  When the stocks are gone, and the boats finally leave, there will be no recovery there.  The ecological damage to the underwater environment will take many generations to repair, if that can ever be done.

Our best hope is that areas of the sea where there is a rich ecological infrastructure of reefs and kelp forests etc, can be identified and turned into some kind of Marine Reserves where destructive methods are banned, feeding productivity into adjoining regions of the ocean.  But as these areas are rich picking grounds for the exploiters, a great deal of political will is needed to bring them about.

Discards.

There is no subject quite so emotive to everyone involved as the rules that require fishermen to dump marketable fish back into the sea.

This is seen as pure waste, perhaps pollution of the environment!

(Though nothing of biological value is ever wasted by the sea)

The problems here are complex, and in part are bought about by the need to deal with inherent dishonesty.

Fish of different sizes sometimes swim together.

Fish of different species sometimes swim together.

Current regulation demands that undersize fish cannot be retained and, as (in most cases) they cannot be returned alive, they must be dumped back into the sea (and thereby re-enter the ocean, rather than the human, food-chain).

This can lead to circumstances where vessels take many tonnes of smaller fish, to fill a few boxes with legal-sized fish, the fishermen complaining that they are 'forced' into doing this by current regulation. 

If only we could be confident that fishermen would not target undersize fish, perhaps shoaling separately from larger fish, we could allow the fish to be landed and count against the vessels TAC. 

Where fish of different species swim together, the regulations acknowledge this by allowing a reasonable level of 'bycatch' to be landed. 

However, often this 'bycatch' can be worth more than the primary catch, and there are instances where boats go to one area to catch their 'bycatch', before setting off to catch the 'primary catch' to legalise the landing of the 'bycatch'!!

Far more complex, better informed and greater minds than mine have tried to come to a fair system that does not involve the discarding of bycatch, and many ideas have been tried in different parts of the world.

The biggest problem of all is being able to enforce restrictions laid down upon paper.

If only we could guarantee that all fishermen would be honest, and would religiously keep to the spirit of legislation, rather than to find ways around the rules (and many try to do so!)

I do not have any easy answers to any of these questions, but that should not be an excuse for burying one's head in the sand.  By constantly raising these issues with the various organisations, politicians and authorities, we build and maintain the 'political will' for something to be done.

Ed

The following emails were received following publication of WaveMaker Issue No 4 J

Subj:

Re: Sea Angler's Conservation Network: WaveMaker

Date:

10/12/02 5:52:31 pm GMT Daylight Time

From:

Struanmep

To:

LEONROSK

Thank you very much for drawing my attention to WAVEMAKER. It is an excellent publication. The two articles on CFP reform were very interesting, particularly the report of your meeting with DEFRA which was most instructive. Thanks again.

STRUAN STEVENSON MEP

Subj:

Re: WaveMaker - Issue 4

Date:

10/6/02 7:51:25 am GMT Daylight Time

From:

cburt@blueyonder.co.uk

 

 

Leon
I have to say I'm impressed by the whole publication you've sent-a very,
very good c ommunication tool....
Regards
Chris
(ed: Chris Burt is a vice- president of the Specialist Anglers Alliance – http://www.anglersnet.co.uk/saa)

Subj:

WaveMaker

Date:

10/14/02 7:00:33 am GMT Daylight Time

From:

malcolm.gilbert@ammodytes.free-online.co.uk

To:

LEONROSK@aol.com

Leon,
Just found time to read WaveMaker No. 4. Excellent!
Keep it up,
Malcolm

(It makes it all seem worthwhile J - ed)

SACN Executive Group Contacts

Roger Baker rogerbaker@Eircom.net
(Campaign Director – Aquaculture)

Frank Beaugendre  beaugendre@aol.com
(Political Co-ordinator)

Mike Connor (Germany)  Mike-connor@t-online.de

Neil Foley – Science and Academic Co-ordinator foleyna@medscape.com
(Science and Academic Co-ordinator)

Mike Heylin  saauk100@hotmail.com

Glyn Hope  images@i12.com

Nick Noble  Nnoble@nildram.co.uk
(SACN Website editor)

Tom Pinborough tom@pinb.freeserve.co.uk
(Campaign Director – Cod recovery)

David Platt Dave@babs45.freeserve.co.uk

Leon Roskilly FishSense@aol.com
(SACN Co-ordinator & WaveMaker editor)

Alan Stubbs  Aps4fun@yahoo.com

Gerard Twigger  gt2000@lineone.net

Simon Yorke-Johnson  Swidge@supanet.com

The SACN Executive Group has overall collective responsibility for running SACN and is answerable to the registered membership.

Individual members of the Exec, who have responsibility for a particular area, are given the authority to use their judgement in pursuing their responsibilities without routinely referring back to the Exec, unless they feel that is appropriate.  However, they are always mindful that they are responsible both to the Executive group and to the membership at large for their decisions and actions.

If you are a member of SACN and feel that you would like to be more closely involved, please get in contact by emailing FishSense@aol.com


Something on your mind?

If there is an issue that you want to bring to the attention of the world, why not write an article for WaveMaker? Or perhaps just a letter will do?

In any case, send an email to FishSense@aol.com marked ‘For Publication in WaveMaker’, and I will try to include it in the next issue. 

Remember that WaveMaker is your magazine, trying to bring to attention the issues that concern you.

If there is something that can’t wait, and you want to discuss with other anglers, why not post a thread on the Anglersnet Sea Fishing forum at http://anglersnet.co.uk




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