Labour’s Parliamentary Spokesman for Angling, Martin Salter MP, today gave a guarded welcome to the announcement by Fisheries Minister Ben Bradshaw to increase the Minimum Landing Size for bass from 36cm to 40cm in English coastal waters.
This follows an intensive campaign by the Bass Anglers Sportsfish Society (B.A.S.S.) which Mr Salter supported and arranged for representatives to have direct negotiations with Ben Bradshaw following a National Angling Summit last year.
Martin Salter said:
“I’m pleased that Ben Bradshaw has accepted the arguments for a bigger Minimum Landing Size to give better protection to bass stocks in the face of a quite vitriolic campaign run by commercial fishing interests who always put their own financial concerns ahead of what is best for the marine environment. I realise that many sea anglers will be disappointed that Ben Bradshaw has not gone for the immediate 45cm limit that they wanted but in my view this is a step in the right direction and we do have a commitment from the government to further increase the minimum landing size in 2010. The government clearly recognises the advantages in promoting recreational sea angling and I am looking forward to further announcements in due course.”
Martin Salter rejected criticisms from the Countryside Alliance, who described the decision as a political fudge. Mr Salter said:
“As usual the Countryside Alliance has not lifted a finger to help bass anglers in their battle with commercial fishing interests and yet has been all too quick to criticise when we achieve some worthwhile progress regarding measures which will help protect fish stocks around our coasts.”
The new minimum landing size will take effect from April 6th 2007.