Britain’s sea anglers today put down buoys marking where their million strong community want government action to “put an end to the historic disregard for their legitimate needs” and ensure continued growth of the nation’s £1 billion sportfishing industry.

 

They want a new body to manage marine resources up to 12 miles from the English and Welsh coasts, some 34,000 square miles of sea, replacing sea fisheries committees set up nearly 120 years ago which have jurisdiction up to only six miles out.

 

“Future inshore fisheries managers must ensure the best value return on marine resources not just for sea anglers and the commercial fishing industry but for leisure users, the tourist industry and others,” Alan Brothers of the National Federation of Sea Anglers, told a government forum in London.

 

“Fisheries managers must ha legislative powers to enforce best value policies which could produce a higher return than current regulations which are mainly concerned only with the needs of the commercial fishing industry .”

 

The forum organised by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

(Defra) marks the start of public consultation on a new Marine Bill expected to be published next year.

 

A joint paper to the forum by RSA representatives called for legislation to bring about:

1. Real and meaningful RSA representation on all relevant decision-making bodies, local, regional, national and international to aid the development and growth of sea angling.

 

2. A new body to manage inshore marine resources up to 12 miles out from the coast with the objective of obtaining best value return on marine resources and with the legislative powers to do so.

 

3. Restoration of the size and quality of inshore fish stocks.  The Bass Management Plan is a prime example of how this could be done. 

 

4. Strong influence over CFP decisions affecting fish stocks in English and Welsh waters.  Rules allowing immature fish to be caught and sold, and the discarding dead back into the sea of large numbers of smaller fish substantially contributed to the deterioration rather than restoration of depleted fish stocks

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