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Angling Trust & CEFAS

Apr 13,2009 Malcolm Gilbert

Thank goodness the Angling Trust appears to have understood the inherent dangers of allowing CEFAS a free reign.  (see AT Statement )

CEFAS, the Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science, used to be the MAFF Fisheries Laboratory. They were ostensibly made an independent agency so as to ensure their research and output was seen as removed from political interference from Government.

Dream on! In my opinion the relationship between CEFAS and DEFRA is nothing short of incestuous. CEFAS are simply there to keep the Minister’s trousers up with scientific advice that meets DEFRA’s political agenda of the day.

I do not believe CEFAS have the necessary skills (outside biological expertise) in humanities and social behaviour to conduct research into RSA. They use to use CEMARE (Centre for the Economics and Management of Aquatic Resources) who were part of the Dept. of Economics at University of Portsmouth for these areas of work. There use to be some good guys there such as Sean Pascoe, Simon Mardle and Diana Tingley, none of whom had that classic “we’re here to look after the commercial fishermen” attitude which pervades both DEFRA & CEFAS.

So, again, I say ‘Full marks’ to the Angling Trust for refusing to cooperate with CEFAS. I just hope fellow sea anglers all realise the dangers facing RSA and get behind the AT so as they have the mandate and critically important financial resources to represent our interests.

As I see it, the AT is the last chance sea anglers have to build an effective RSA voice. Anglers must join AND engage with the issues and above all stop sitting on their backsides just whinging about lack of fish, fish that are small, netting plastered across all the wrecks and along our shoreline etc.

Are we about to see English sea anglers “kick ass” ?  --- as they have done in the US. I do hope so, cause it’s certainly worked over the other side of the pond.

Malcolm Gilbert


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