Recreational sea angling – the facts

RE the letter by Cllr O'Flynn (Your Views, February 5) where he asks that we get the facts right on fishing.

If the councillor is referring to fishing in the global sense then some of his facts are correct. But he appears to be addressing the Recreational Sea Angling (RSA) sector in his main point when he criticises MP Robert Goodwill.

So perhaps we should get the facts right.

Cllr O'Flynn claims the EU Consultative Document Article 47 says nothing about fishing from the shore. Here is what article 47 states:

a Recreational fisheries on a vessel in Community waters on a stock subject to a multi-annual plan shall be subject to an authorisation for that vessel issued by the flag Member State.

b Catches in recreational fisheries on stocks subject to a multi-annual plan shall be registered by the flag Member State.

c Catches of species subject to a multi-annual plan by recreational fisheries shall be counted against the relevant quotas of the flag Member State. The Member States concerned shall establish a share from such quotas to be used exclusively for the purpose of recreational fisheries.

d The marketing of catches from a recreational fishery shall be prohibited except for philanthropic purposes

The important point in this is "recreational fisheries" across the EU. This means different things in different countries. In the UK it means fishing with rod and line from the shore or from a boat.

The letter goes on to clarify why this regulation is apparently necessary and I quote: "the draft is proposed because of loopholes which allow fishermen claiming to be recreational fishers to extract huge quantities of blue fin tuna from the Mediterranean and Adriatic".

These fishermen are not claiming to be recreational fishers. In the eyes of the EU they are.

Here lies the confusion. But by referring to the demise of the herring from our shores the letter, if it is referring to UK recreational anglers, appears to place the blame on the RSA sector. If this proposal is to cater for a problem in the Adriatic why should the UK RSA sector be included?

We should dissuade readers from tarring the UK RSAs with the same brush as the artisan fishermen.

The Government estimate that RSAs take one per cent of the annual quota. That is a minuscule amount compared with the amount of fish discarded because of the Common Fisheries Policy.

In just the North Sea, according to Government estimates, in just one year the CFP forced the dumping of 23,600 tonnes of cod, 31,048 tonnes of haddock and 6,000 tonnes of whiting.

That 60,000 tonnes of dumped fish is enough to fill a 200 metre- long supramax bulk carrier ship or keep Billingsgate fish market stocked for two and a half years.

The real problem is the Comm- on Fisheries Policy.

Perhaps Cllr O’Flynn and his colleagues should address this as an issue as it has already damaged the local economy and if this proposal is introduced it will damage it even more as the RSA sector shrinks just like the commercial fleet before.

Stuart McPherson


Angling Trust

Yorkshire Division (Marine)