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Welsh Disappointment

Oct 16,2006 Hooker

The Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) result (bass mls) is not only terribly disappointing, it will IMO make Bradshaw's task of maintaining the English 40 cm MLS very difficult if not impossible. 

I strongly suspect the decision to only go to 37.5 cm was at least in part due to the NFFO challenge.
As far as I'm concerned, this decision is further confirmation of what I have really always known. 

The whole fisheries management process is devoid of any rational, biological science or economic science.

Informed deliberation - it is not.
It's entirely down to who makes the most noise.
I've seen this approach adopted for mackerel, plaice, cod etc.  

ICES carry out research, make recommendations, AND the Minister, in response to intense and vociferous pressure from the commercial catchers, completely disregards the evidence in favour of appeasing those who shout and kick at his door the hardest.
Remember, WAG commissioned a study of all their fisheries by Nautilus a few years ago.

Recreational Sea Angling was valued at £28 million.  

Inshore commercial fishing resulted in landings of £8.8 million which included significant landings of crab, lobster, cockles, whelk & mussels as well as number of fin fish which are of little direct interest to RSA.
Nautilus stated that there was considerable scope for developing the RSA sector in Wales and that RSA is often overlooked when tourism and coastal development is debated.
In a cost benefit analysis, RSA was stated to have very low investment requirement, the highest level of return on investment of any fisheries sector, and was awarded the highest score for cost effectiveness in terms of development.
WAG certainly know how to use the research they paid for wisely!
If the proposal was to totally cease commercial bass exploitation in favour of achieving a better deal for Wales from RSA, the evidence is there to support  the case. 

But in the event, the proposal was simply about harvesting the animal at a slightly larger and more valuable age, thus benefiting both commercial and RSA exploitation.
It's not the message that matters, it's all about how loud one shouts. And until the voice of RSA attracts the support of many more anglers and those who supply RSA needs, decisions will continue to reflect the short term commercial view.
Does anyone know of any where around the globe where bag limits are imposed on RSA whilst commercials fish without limit? 

I don't.
Such a suggestion completely contradicts the notion of fishery resources being part of our public heritage at laid out in the United Nations FAO code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. 

(Incidentally, 'recreation' is listed as a valid use of the fishery resources in the Code).
Limiting the catches of all those except licenced commercials may be seen as a means of improving the stock and therefore the quality of the angling product, BUT such a conclusion overlooks the capacity of the commercial fleet to increase it's efforts and replicate any fishing mortality thought to be prevented by controlling unlicenced commercial operators.


Related news

» Benefits to Anglers Unclear
by SACN posted on Oct 04,2006
» WAG Explains Bass MLS decision
by SACN posted on Nov 09,2006
by sacn posted on Nov 24,2007
» SACN Response to the Marine Bill White Paper
by SACN posted on Jun 06,2007
» Bass Carcass Tagging - An Alternative to Bag Limits?
by Plugger posted on Nov 16,2006

comment Comments (2 posted) 
  • I cannot believe wag actions of late. Despite overwhelming advice first they do not join with the rest of the uk on what is an important improvement of the bass stocks for all. Then they have the gaul to write to defra and complain that there is more dammage being done by black selling of the stock by anyone other than the commercial fisheries sector. This is without ANY facts and figures what so ever. The outcome of this is the local sfc's have been advised by defra to look at restricting the recreational sea angler. One sfc has now gone down that road and has stated that they will bring in a bylaw to that effect. The day before this meeting Defra on mass turned up to advise the committee members, that is not usuall. What coersion went on i wonder. It appears that the beam trawlers around the channel isles are landing record catches of bass, while the rsa are being restricted due to black selling of this stock. Apparently the only facts and figures avalible come from the newly released pan europeon 2006 study were it clearly states that there is NOT a problem with black selling based on the amount landed by both the rsa and commercial. This is contary to the pub talk issed by the welsh assembly. This therefore stinks in my mind. there is no discussion on gill tagging which would get rid of any precieved black selling immediatly at little cost to the rate payer, so the men in suits appear to want control over the rsa, at what ever the cost to the rate payer. Is this how defra wants to engage with the rsa community in future. All they will do is cause massive resentment, criminalise the rsa for taking any fish home over the limit and creating bylaws that will be impossible and costly to police. This is the start of the rsa fishing experiance going down the pan, purly on pub talk by the men in suits. Enjoy.
(Posted on February 8, 2007, 8:09 am barry luxton)

  • Of course the WAG are in a different position to other UK legislatures as they have a statutary duty to promote sustainable development. I am sure that if enough AMs were made aware of this they could make life very difficult for the minister, as these size limits would appear to fly in the face of this duty. Phil
(Posted on October 18, 2006, 11:04 am Phil Hollington)

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