What the ‘Netsman’ left behind!

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    • #29234

      R Soles

        We were on the beach on Tuesday night having a go after the skate and tope, failing per usual. At about 11, we saw lights on the beach to the north towards Hornsea, we were ready to jack anyway, so we though we’d go take a look-see as it was unusual. The lights had gone but we walked the beach and found the above basket of undersized Bass and Sole tucked up by the cliffs where an old fella has a fixed 50mm ‘tangle’ net, licensed for Sole April-Sept.

        We found the filleted cod frame on the beach, along with a few dabs, alive and dead, just tossed up the beach. We returned those still kicking to the sea. If you can’t see from the picture the bass were 35cm/1lb2oz; 37.5cm/1lb3oz; 35cm/15oz (all gutted weights). We’ve removed scales from the shoulder and these shall be forwarded to John Morgan (of BASS) soon.

        A closer look at the Bass, along side a steel rule.

        The two Sole were 26cm/5oz and 28.5cm (again gutted). This is what the net is licensed to fish for but not this size. I have seen figures that described Bass as ‘by-catch’ in this area yet formed 52.7% of the total catch over 10 months 2775 bass that undoubtedly would have been 90%+ undersized if Hoderness shore anglers catches are any indicator? These nets take Sea Trout too and we can’t help feeling it is these two species that are the target, hardly ‘by-catch’ is it? There are 5 licensed to fish along Holderness, so do the sums yourselves, it’s a fair few undersized Bass we’re never going to catch again isn’t it. There are also proposals by the NESFC for a licensed inter-tidal fixed gill net (90mmm) fishery along Holderness in winter. You can imagine how well received this has been by RSAs? Having clobbered the cod, they now want to get their grabbing hands on the bass. No Way!

        I’ve read and heard all sorts of drivel from the commercial sector about how unwanted ‘by-catch’ can be returned alive unharmed? You won’t be able to tell that to this Dab, it was in a right mess and had been dead so long the crabs had eaten its eyes! We’ve watched this guy empty his net of dead undersized Bass from the cliff top through ‘bins’ a number of times before.

        The guy who runs this net, I’m 99.9% certain is the same one who was prosecuted in January for fishing a second such net unlicensed at Rolston, and fined a punitive £100 and £200 costs! He was 66 at the time so fits the description, why is he still granted a license when he’s not playing the game? He’s obviously a pensioner and may be hard up but there are better ways to make a shilling aren’t they? If anyone knows the bloke, he’s welcome to come and get his basket back from me, I’d be interested to exchange some views with him!


        We’re guessing, by the way, that he left the fish to collect first thing,; perhaps he thought someone may be waiting to inspect his catch at the access? Why they don’t just put a locked barrier across this access I don’t know? We’d then see how much they’d like to continue netting?

        Remove this again and it is a clear demonstration of how interested you are in real issues impacting RSAs?

      • #61300

        TF_Leon Roskilly

          Hi Ada,

          That article has been developed and extended with some ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ at:


        • #61301


            Hi guys,
            Visit the beach where the trawlers berth at Hastings and you’ll find hundreds of dead undersized fish scattered around, including dabs the size of postage stamps.
            So much for mesh sizes and those who should be policing all this.

          • #61302


              Cheers HA,
              I’ll do that

            • #61303


                I am a rod and line angler for pleasure not profit, but it really gets my goat when everbody slates the commercial fisherman. I personally think the fault lies with the government. If they were to ban all foreign licensed vessels to 20 miles from our shore and then submit all uk vessels to a minimum start zone of a 6 mile fishing zone from our shore alot of fish will survive.

              • #61304

                R Soles

                  I actually agree with you there Orkney, it is the way in which fisheries are managed, not the Commercial lads as individuals that are the problem imho.

                  In the situation we encountered here though, I still don’t comprehend why a licence should be issued to someone caught ‘at it’ in the recent past?

                  If you get caught breaking the law in a car, you risk losing your licence don’t you? Automatically for some offences, same rules ought to apply here, I reckon?

                • #61305

                  TF_Leon Roskilly

                    Sea Fisheries Committees at:


                    Marine Fisheries Agency at:


                    Put the contact details of your local SFC & MFA in your mobile phone now, so that you can call them right away if you ever need to.

                    For further advice see:


                  • #61306


                      Ornkney – the original post cited the behaviour of a licensed UK shore based netsman, regardless of legislation against offshore EU and Japanese fleets this individual would still continue to operate illegally.

                    • #61307


                        I take your point Orkney, but at the end of the day, individuals are responsible and can adhere to regulations if they have a mind to.
                        Unfortunately there are many people, including rod anglers who abuse their surroundings and are not aware or give any thought to limits or sizes.
                        When netsmen do it, the damage is on a far greater scale. I have seen trawlermen dispose of micro flatfish and many, many other undersized fish in the Old Town harbour.
                        However, I’ll take HA’s advice
                        and report such occurances.

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