News Archive: 2012, 2013 & 2014

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Storm damages the Pier's lower deck

Report by Dean Curry, Monday 29th December 2014

The lower deck and D&WAA cabin have been extensively damaged by wave action caused by strong north-easterly winds on Sunday. Half of the lower deck remains open (but to adults only) pending the outcome of an inspection in the new year.

The good news is that the upper deck remains open and is fishing gangbusters with large numbers of sizeable codling and whiting being caught.

The last fishing trip before Christmas

David Chamberlain, December 2014

Last Christmas Eve I was beach-fishing opposite the Deal Coastguard station. You know what it's like - the wife getting everything ready and fussing around, complaining I was getting in the way. Fine, not wanting to fall out - and I do like being fed on Christmas Day - I removed some frozen bait from the deep freeze and said I would only be a couple of hours.

I got to the top of the beach as a sea mist rolled in. It was thick, wet and cold. You could barely see the sea with the incoming tide. The previous day's storm had made the high-water line shelve up, making the beach steep. At least I was travelling light with a couple of bits of tackle in my bucket and just one rod.

Groping through the fog I could hear the sea lapping at the shore. As I set up I was feeling slightly uncomfortable; there is something about a sea mist that is unnatural. Everything gets coated in a wet, grey cobweb-like substance that sticks to your clothes. The fog bounces back from your head torch and throws up ghostly shadows all over the place - and combined with the vapour from your mouth in those cold conditions, it gives the appearance of movement all around you.

I convinced myself that I could stick it out for two hours and made a mental note of the time of my first cast - 6pm. It had been a rubbish year for cod and I was only expecting a few small whiting … if I was lucky. At least it would give the wife some time to get organised and I had promised not to bring back any 'smelly' fish.

It was when I was avidly gazing at my non-moving rod tip that the mist lifted a bit. To my shock I could make out another angler fishing about twenty yards to my right. I thought the least I could do would be to ask him what he had caught and wish him a happy Christmas. As I approached him he was reeling in a good size cod. Mesmerised, I watched in silence, and as he dragged it ashore I noticed that he also had about five other decent size cod alongside his wicker tackle box.

He was an old guy with a black PVC waterproof coat on and full-length waders. Being gobsmacked, I just stood and watched. He seemed oblivious of me as he re-baited with a yellow-tail lugworm, which he kept in a tin can full of sea water. When I saw his rod and reel I could not believe my eyes. It was an old greenheart rod with a centre-pin reel. Now that takes you back to the good old days; and this was vintage gear. Not wanting to disturb him, I watched as he lobbed his bait not much further than thirty yards out to sea. As he walked back to his wooden rod-rest the poor old boy seemed a bit out of puff.

Fired up with enthusiasm I left him to it and made my way back to my own rod. It was just in time, as the mist rolled in thicker than before. To cut a long story short, the two hours soon passed and I did not get a bite. I tried short casts, at distance and for the final cast I piled on the rest of my bait … and still not a bite. At one time I thought I heard the old guy give a shout … the lucky man's got another one no doubt.

Despondent with the lack of action, the sea mist making every thing soaking and the thought of 'it is not going to happen', I packed up. As I struggled up the last bit of steep beach, the tide was making quickly. Just as I reached the promenade the mist cleared as quickly as it came down. I looked back to see the beach was deserted. Obviously the old boy had had enough and had gone home. Let's face it; if I had caught that quantity of fish I would have gone home well-pleased! Still at least I didn't have to drag that vast amount of cod up the beach! The climb alone with my minimum amount of gear was hard work and it would have only caused an argument with the wife as to where to keep them, as the fridge and deep freeze were full of Christmas goodies.

It was a great Christmas, although after all these years I find it difficult buying and receiving gifts; when there is not that much you need … or want. It used to be so much easier in the past. I could guarantee I would get a woolly pom-pom hat and some knitted mittens. A fishing pen knife with a built-in disgorger, which would rust so much that it would be impossible to open after a couple of trips. Not forgetting those hand warmers that you had to fill with lighter fuel and would last for three hours. I could never get mine to stay alight longer than three minutes … and I'm sure the petrol on my hands put the fish off.

It was on Boxing Day that I managed to get to read the East Kent Mercury. I always find it interesting on 'Those were the days' page and the 'On File' column of what happened on this day in the past. So you will understand that when I read about a beach angler who had lost his life on Christmas Eve a hundred years ago, it came as a bit of a shock. Apparently he had a heart attack when he was climbing the steep high water part of the beach carrying a large catch of cod. Obviously nobody heard his cry and he drowned as the tide came in. It must have been a terrifying feeling, knowing that you are unable to make the effort to move, with the sea slowly rising over you. It was also strange that the place where they found his body, the shingle had filled his waders and had anchored him in situ … was opposite the Deal Coastguard station!

Copyright © David Chamberlain 2014

David Chamberlain's book Deal and Walmer's Piscatorial Past, ISBN 978-0-9548439-4-6, is published by Beaches Books and is available online for £4.99 on Amazon and eBay, and can be bought over the counter from Pleasure Angling and Channel Angling.

Newly-reformed Common Fisheries Policy stumbles at first hurdle

Marine Conservation Society, December 2014

MCS Fisheries Policy Officer, Debbie Crockard, reflects on another closed door meeting to set fishing quotas:

We were hopeful that the ministers would look to the future and apply the new CFP in a way that would ensure sustainable and profitable fisheries for the future of fish and fishermen. To achieve this, the MCS believes that fishing at Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) is key to ensuring long-term viability of the industry and that, while it may in some isolated cases cause short-term economic impacts, this will be balanced by long-term gains. In cases where there may be significant impacts, a phased-in approach may be applicable until 2020, but in such cases evidence needs to be provided to support the delay in reaching MSY.

Ministers have chosen not to follow scientific advice and reduce the quotas for several stocks - a huge disappointment and a sad day for EU fish stocks. Examples of quotas set above scientific advice include:

In these cases we expect to see transparent and detailed evidence to justify any deviation from MSY requirements of the European legislation. MSY targets must be met by 2020 at the very latest and by delaying their application without significant and justifiable reasons may result in more difficult and extreme cuts to quotas being made further down the line. For those fisheries with TACs not set in line with MSY advice there must also be a clear road map detailing how this fishery will reach MSY by 2020 at the very latest.

Of particular concern to the MCS is the lack of agreement of measure to manage bass which is currently heading towards the lowest recorded spawning stock biomass, corresponding to highest recorded fishing mortality. Scientists have recommended that a catch reduction of 80% will be required to halt the decline of the bass, and that further measures will be required to ensure its sustainable exploitation. While the UK government apparently fought for protection of bass stocks, no agreement was reached on this topic during the negotiations and emergency measures will likely need to be applied to prevent the stock from crashing.

The MCS believes that following these negotiations it is additionally important for Member States to acknowledge those sectors within their commercial fleet who

The new CFP has stumbled at its first hurdle, putting the CFP ambition at risk as well as delaying the long-term sustainability of our fisheries.

Richard Yates and Saul Page rise to No2 and No6 in world rankings

Total Fishing, 10th December 2014

Planet Sea Fishing, 13th December 2014

The Fédération International de Pêche Sportive - Mer (FIPS-M) has released the Shore Angling Individual World Rankings and England's very own Richard Yates has climbed to number 2 in the World, with Joe Arch of Wales taking the coveted number 1 spot.

UK anglers feature heavily in the latest rankings, contributing five of the top ten anglers in the world and England's Saul Page and Ian Golds are ranked 6th and 9th respectively.


Marine Conservation Society, December 2014

Sea Fishing Magazine, 9th December 2014

Conservative MP George Hollingbery, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Angling:

"Sea Angling 2012 shows that there are 884,000 sea anglers in England. They directly pump £1.23 billion into the economy, and 10,500 full-time jobs depend on that spending. Indirect spend is equivalent to £2.1 billion and 23,600 jobs … and the VAT collected from sea anglers dwarfs the first sale value of the entire commercial fish landings in the UK."

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) supports the scientific recommendation of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) that an 80% reduction in fishing mortality is vital to ensuring the future of the bass stock around the UK. Unless urgent action is taken to reduce fishing mortality by 80%, a complete moratorium on bass fishing may be required in the future to prevent the complete collapse of the stock.

MCS is looking to Ministers, businesses, commercial fishers, anglers and consumers to take urgent action in order to reduce catches in line with scientific advice.


The bass stock in the Irish Sea, Celtic Sea, English Channel and southern North Sea is hugely valuable for both the commercial and recreational sectors, but has in recent years come under significantly increased pressure - commercial landings have more than doubled since the early 1990s. Critically, research from the UK Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) has shown five successive years of very low numbers of young fish reaching maturity (poor recruitment), giving every indication that the stock is heading towards the lowest level of spawning biomass ever recorded, with a reduction of approximately 60% in the last five years alone.

In June 2014, ICES recommended that total landings of bass from both commercial and recreational fisheries in eco-regions Celtic Sea, West of Scotland and the North Sea should be no more than 1,155t in 2015. To place this in context, ICES currently estimates that the recreational catch alone stands at 1,500t, with commercial landings in the region of 4-6,000t. With the spawning stock biomass currently headed towards the lowest spawning stock biomass ever observed (5,250t), even those significant cuts proposed are only likely to slow the decline in the short term, rather than immediately increase the level of spawning biomass.

What measures need to be taken?

Urgent management measures need to be taken in order to achieve the recommended 80% reduction in catch. Coordinated efforts are needed from all Member States accessing the fishery, of which the UK and France are responsible for the majority of the commercial catch, with the UK, Ireland, France, the Netherlands, and Belgium also having significant recreational catches, which comprise approximately 25% of the total catch.


Businesses can:

Consumers can:

Recreational anglers can:

Voluntarily increase the size of fish retained and support proposals to increase the Minimum Landing Size (MLS) to at least 45cm to allow fish to spawn at least once. The current MLS of 36cm means that the vast majority of fish are caught before they are able to spawn and contribute to the growth of the population. Anglers can voluntarily choose to only keep bass if they are longer than 45cm.

Only keep what you really need! And support proposals for a bag limit for recreational anglers. The angling community has widely acknowledged the need for a bag limit, given the need to reduce catches across all sectors. Anglers can voluntarily choose to only keep a small number of fish or exercise the practice of catch and release already popular amongst many sport fishers.

Better monitor catches. The angling community can widen and enhance existing voluntary catch reporting initiatives and can help report any incidences of bass being sold illegally to restaurants.

Commercial fishers can:

Angling Trust launches new coach licence to safeguard children

Angling Trust, 10th December 2014

The National Governing Body for angling, the Angling Trust, has launched a new coach licence to drive standards and protect young people and vulnerable adults taking part in fishing. A licensed coach must meet the highest safeguarding standards established and supported by the NSPCC and the Child Protection in Sport Unit, be subject to all the relevant and appropriate checks on their criminal record and show that they have undertaken the correct training.

The new licence will be available for just £29.50 a year (£19.50 for under 22s) for coaches who have either a UKCC Level 1 or Level 2 angling coach qualification. The new licence also includes public liability insurance worth £59.99, along with all the benefits of Angling Trust membership, worth £25.

The Angling Trust is the only organisation which offers angling coaches a Licence to Practise scheme, which proves to parents, young people, funding organisations and others that coaches are appropriately qualified and regularly engage in training to maintain the highest possible coaching standards.

All coaches licensed by the Angling Trust will also be encouraged to engage in continuous professional development (CPD) events over the course of the 3 year Licence. A coach attending no CPD events will be referred to as a 'Licensed Coach'; those who attend more than 3 CPD events over a 3-year period will be recognised as 'Advanced Licensed Coaches'. The Angling Trust has established a number of Coaching Specialisms and these will also count as CPD events as described above. Further information and courses will be launched in the near future. A new web site with an online booking form will also be available from spring 2015.

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust & Fish Legal said:

"Recent court cases have highlighted the need for every sector in society to ensure that young people and vulnerable adults are protected when they are being coached without supervision from their parents. This new licensing scheme offers a really affordable way for qualified coaches to demonstrate that they are quality assured."

Ben Snook, the Angling Trust's Coach Development Manager said:

"We want all qualified coaches to get a licence so that we can guarantee high standards of coaching within a really simple system that everyone can understand. It's vitally important that parents and their children have the confidence to learn to fish with someone who has an official licence from the National Governing Body for angling. We have cut the cost of the licence dramatically to make it more affordable and it now offers unbelievably good value for money."

Notes to Editors: More information on coaching is available at:

Anglers infuriated at continued pier closure this month

East Kent Mercury: 11th December 2014

Deal Pier will continue to be closed for night fishermen on Saturday nights throughout December, the Mercury can reveal.

Dover District Council initially said the short term issue of staff shortages would only affect anglers in November, but seeing as a full complement of staff has not been established, the issue has rolled into December. A district council spokesman said:

"We continue to have a short-term issue with temporary staff shortages, which means Deal Pier will need to remain closed overnight on Saturdays during December, and we apologise for any inconvenience caused. Opening hours for the pier on Saturdays for December will be 8am to midnight, and opening hours for the rest of the week will be in line with our normal winter timetable of 8am to 6pm."

Angler Darren Smith said:

"It's infuriating as it's the council just trying to pacify the public saying it's for a couple of weeks only. Deal has been voted the best seaside town and the Pier is one of its attractions. Without the angling, the Pier wouldn't function."

How do you feel about this? Get in touch or write to the editor at

Bass get parliamentary support

Fishing Magic, 10th December 2014

Something remarkable happened in Parliament last week; there was a debate about the parlous state of our bass stocks and every MP who spoke in the chamber supported dramatic reductions in commercial fishing. Many went further and proposed that bass should only be legally caught by rod and line because recreational angling is so much more valuable to the economy and to society. No, you are not dreaming - it really happened.

This was a far cry from sea fisheries debates of the past which saw MPs almost climbing over each other to demand that commercial fishermen in their constituencies should be allowed to carry on exploiting dwindling stocks without regulation. This is a huge moment for sea anglers. For years we have been ignored in the public debate and for decades MPs have been completely immersed in the idea that the commercial fishing sector is a vital part of our rural economy and fisheries ministers have been deaf to the repeated calls from fisheries scientists and sea anglers to rein in the unsustainable activities of the trawlers. Commercial fishing was seen as a great provider of jobs and prosperity and - in the short-term mind set of our political system - they have resisted any serious constraints on commercial fishing. They ignored sea anglers, thinking of us as a small group of irrelevant hobbyists, making fanciful claims about declines in fish stocks.

Wednesday's debate was the complete opposite and our elected representatives seem to have undergone a collective epiphany. George Hollingbery, the MP for Meon Valley who, to his great credit, called the debate, spoke passionately and eloquently of the disastrous state of affairs:

"We are fishing more, we are increasingly targeting sea bass, we are specifically fishing out breeding shoals and we are not allowing the young stock to reach spawning age … there could not be a worse way of managing a fishery that we apparently want to keep for the longer term."

Former Fisheries Minister Ben Bradshaw, MP for Exeter, looked back to the terrible decision by his successor Jonathan Shaw to reduce the Minimum Landing Size for bass back in 2007 when he should have increased it:

"All I can say to the current Minister is, 'Please learn the lessons of that mistake and go for an increase in the minimum landing size.' It is absolutely insane that we allow people to catch the vast majority of bass before they even reach spawning size."

There was widespread support in the debate for an increased Minimum Landing Size and measures to stop the exploitation of spawning fish to be introduced urgently, both of which are key pillars of the arguments we have been making, along with the Bass Anglers' Sportfishing Society, for the past decade. The Angling Trust will be pressing Minister Eustice to make bass a recreational-only species in the weeks to come and at the annual fisheries debate later in December.

The tone of the debate on bass was music to our ears, but even more significant was the clear realisation among MPs that sea angling is actually worth far more to our economy and our society than commercial fishing. Richard Benyon MP highlighted the economic case for action by quoting from a report commissioned by the Blue Marine Foundation with support from the Angling Trust in the past few months about the fishery in Sussex. This showed that between 258 and 267 tonnes of fish were harvested commercially in 2012, and somewhere between 10 and 19 tonnes were harvested recreationally. Taking the median of those two, about 5.7% were landed from the recreational sector. As Benyon pointed out, what is really important is that the economic output per tonne in Sussex is 40 to 75 times higher for recreational than commercial. The employment that is generated, calculated per tonne, is 39 to 75 times higher for recreational bass fisheries than commercial. The report states clearly that the final economic and employment impacts of recreational bass fisheries in Sussex are estimated at £31.3 million and 353 full time equivalent jobs. The final economic employment impacts of commercial bass fisheries in Sussex were estimated as £9.25 million and 111.28 full-time equivalents.

John Cruddas, MP for Dagenham and Rainham, also referred to economic arguments to make the case for conservation and quoted from DEFRA's Sea Angling 2012 report, which shows that there are 884,000 sea anglers in England, pumping £1.23 billion per annum directly into the economy, supporting 10,400 full-time jobs.

These economic reports, which the Angling Trust has helped compile and publicise, at last seem to have been taken on board by our politicians. The simple fact is that, although commercial fishing looks like an important industry because it uses boats and cranes in busy harbours and ports, the sea angling industry is actually far larger. Sea angling is just less conspicuous, because although there are nearly a million people fishing, they do it in very remote places, quietly spending money in rural economies and supporting small businesses. What's more, sea angling does far less damage to fish stocks and doesn't destroy the sea bed habitat, or strangle dolphins in nets.

It is wonderful news that our politicians have now grasped this. This cataclysmic shift in political thinking has taken years to achieve. Part of the reason is that the evidence is now so stark: trusted scientific bodies agree that if we don't stop netting bass then the stocks will disappear but the arguments about bass also relate to countless other species of importance to recreational sea anglers, like bream, cod, mullet and plaice and the Angling Trust will continue to use them over the months and years to come to make the case for conservation measures that follow scientific advice to be introduced urgently to protect stocks for the good of anglers, and for the long term future of commercial fishing.

Fishing for cod from the beach

Fish Elbows, 5th December 2014

Click here to view parts one to five of Waters Edge TV top instructional videos Winter Cod Quest … steep shelving shingle beaches … don't go shore fishing for cod without lugworm … pulley Pennell rig … lug\rag bait cocktails … don't scrimp on the bait … buy best quality lugworm and plenty of it … sound advice in five 30 minute videos.

British Record (Rod-Caught) Committee updates

Sea Fishing Magazine, 5th December 2014

The BRFC met at Fishmongers' Hall, London, on 4th December 2014.

Present were: Mike Heylin OBE (Chairman), Nick Simmonds (Secretary), Oliver Crimmen (Scientific Advisor, Natural History Museum), Nigel Hewlett (Scientific Advisor, Environment Agency), David Rowe (Angling Trust - marine specialist), Keith Speer (Angling Trust - freshwater specialist) and Andrew Nellist (Angling Trust - freshwater specialist).

The following claims were ratified by the committee as new records:

Sea Fish
Species Record weight Captor's name Date caught & venue Previous record
(Merlangius merlangus)
4lb 8oz
Shore-caught record
David Backler 14/05/2014
Orford Ness
4lb 0oz 7dr
Black-faced blenny
(Tripterygion delaisi)
2.95 grams
Mini-species record
Nina Frapple 18/06/2012 N/A
Greater Weever
(Trachinus draco)
1lb 9oz 6dr
(722 grams)
Paul Robinson 31/05/2014
Porthtowan, Cornwall
1lb 8oz 10dr
Thin-lipped mullet
(Liza ramada)
6lb 15oz
Boat-caught record
Gerald Gavey 19/07/2014 6lb 9oz 6dr
Thin-lipped mullet
(Liza ramada)
6lb 15oz
Equal boat-caught record
Derek Kane 27/07/2014 6lb 9oz 6dr

The following fish was added to the Notable Fish List:

Species Weight/measurement Captor Date & place
Common Skate (Raja batis) Estimated 226 lb
(Length 87 inches, wingspan 74 inches)
Craig Mackay 15/06/2014, East coast of Scotland

Notes from the meeting:

  1. The Committee would like to take the opportunity to remind readers that anglers are invited to submit claims for fish to be included on the Notable Fish List.The Notable Fish List has been established to record exceptional captures of sea fish when it is not possible to accurately verify the weight of the fish. This may be because the fish has been caught and returned from a boat, or as in the case of Craig Mackay's skate, is too big to weigh on the shore when the fish is to be returned alive, in which case the dimensions of the fish are taken and the weight estimated.
  2. The Committee would also like to advise readers that in the event of the capture of a potential record fish, the captor should first contact the British Record (rod-caught) Fish Committee without delay. Captors of potential record fish should contact the Secretary, Nick Simmonds, at the Angling Trust, on 01568 620447 or by email at Nick will record the details of the capture and advise the claimant on progressing the claim. More information about what to do if you catch a record fish can be found in the BRFC web pages here.

The Big Fish, 3rd December 2014 (date)

The search is on for angling talent as fishing heads back to the Beeb! The BBC is planning a brand new series called The Big Fish - working title only - which will test the skills of some of Britain's best amateur anglers, in some of the most dramatic and challenging places on earth. From tropical seas to frozen rivers and lakes, this is not just a gripping mission to find Britain's best all-round angler, but an expedition around the world.

Each programme will see the contestants travelling to a different country with very distinct climates, landscapes and habitats. In each location they'll be tested using a wide range of techniques and will face challenges which combine their own experience and talents with newly learnt skills. Over the course of the series, the competitors will be eliminated leaving the others to move onto the next country and the next set of challenges.

So who is brave enough to swap the Thames for the Zambezi? Or trade Lake Windermere for an alligator-infested swamp, or the coast of Wales for the shores of Central America?

The production team are currently looking for a diverse range of fishing fanatics from all over the UK to take part of the series and push their fishing skills to the extreme …

The talent search is open to non-professional anglers aged 18 and over and resident in the UK. Anyone interested applying to take part should contact: or call the team on 0117 974 2349

The perils of eBay …, 4th December 2014

Britons are impulse buying fishing boats [†] after 'a few drinks', says Fowey harbourmaster.

They are at the upper end of the scale when it comes to impulse purchases, so one might expect their owners to hang on to them for quite some time. But boats are being left to rot in Britain's ports because would-be sailors are buying second-hand fishing vessels online after enjoying a few drinks, a harbour master has suggested.

Captain Paul Thomas said he has been "plagued" by abandoned vessels in Fowey harbour in Cornwall, which he has been removing over the past year at a cost of thousands of pounds. Captain Thomas said people are "seduced" into buying the boats, "often late at night" on auction sites such as eBay, without realising the responsibilities involved in owning them. When the new owners learn of the associated costs such as mooring rates, maintenance and insurance, they are scared off and abandon their new vessels to rot in the harbour, he said.

In the past week the authorities have rounded up a catamaran, a fishing boat, a yacht and other vessels that had been abandoned and fallen into disrepair. Captain Thomas said:

"It's one of the plagues of harbour masters. People can be seduced into buying a boat really easily, often late at night and maybe after a few drinks, but buying it is the easy part - then there is mooring it, maintaining it and insuring it. They don't realise how expensive it is, can't afford it, and then we get left with the boats and the costs. It is time-consuming, and we have better things to do. Leaving a boat to rot is simply marine fly-tipping and we're not having it. People have a responsibility to the community, the environment and the harbour users. Fowey is a beautiful place and we want it to remain that way. We don't want derelicts making it look untidy and causing a possible environmental hazard."

When an abandoned vessel is identified a notice is issued to the owner, informing them they are required to either repair or remove the vessel. If this is not done, the authorities assess the boat, before selling it off if it is still sea-worthy, or scrapping it if it is too damaged to be used.

[†] And the occasional kayak

Your worst nightmare …

Fish Update, 28th November 2014

A retired headmaster said he has been put off fish after discovering a "flesh-eating louse" in a bass bought at a Morrisons supermarket. Paul Poli from Swansea was preparing to enjoy his bass supper when he spotted a yellow parasitic crustacean on the fish.

The parasite - cymothoa exigua, commonly known as the "tongue-eating louse" - enters fish through the gills and then the female attaches to the tongue and the male attaches on the gill arches beneath and behind the female. Females are 8 - 29 millimetres long and 4 - 14 mm in maximum width. Males are approximately 7.5 - 15 mm long and 3 - 7 mm wide. The parasite destroys the fish's tongue, and then attaches itself to the stub of what was once its tongue and becomes the fish's new tongue.

Morrisons, who sold the fish, have apologised to Mr Poli and given him a bottle of wine and a £20 voucher, but point out some fish occasionally pick up parasites from the marine eco system. They are normally screened out by fishmongers during processing, but occasionally one gets through. They said Mr Poli was sold unfilleted fish at his own request.

Images of this parasite are too shocking for this website … but can be viewed here. You are strongly urged NOT to click through.

Also reported in the Daily Mirror.

Dodgy bend on Beach Street to be made safer

Kent Online, 26th November 2014

Deal Town Council has pledged cash to Kent County Council in a bid to improve the safety of Beach Street opposite Pleasure Angling. Councillors voted in favour of supporting the move but changed the wording from a handout "of up to £5,000" to a "proportionate financial contribution".

Councillor Ian Kilbery who proposed the amended recommendation, said:

"This is too much of an important matter to our town. For the sake of our community, let's get something done there. It's important that something is not just done, but it is done well."

This movement comes after Kent Highways proposed no further action for changes to the road, following the results of a traffic speed survey. The survey discovered the general speed of vehicles is below 30 mph and therefore within the current speed limit, despite KentOnline poll findings which discovered 89% of readers thought the bend was dangerous.

Kent County Councillor Mike Eddy said:

We are grateful that the town council said that they are happy to support the programme. KCC say the crash record is not serious enough for them to invest large quantities of money such as traffic lights or 20 mph zones, but they might think about putting in different road surfaces, colour surfaces or slow signs. We are faced with problems here. It's slap bang against the conservation area on one side and the sea on the other. Whatever we do could ruin the view or have bad implications for the conservation area. We are looking at a far more complex situation."

With money now potentially available from three pots - KCC's mainstream funding, Kent County Councillors Members' Highways Fund and Deal Town Council's Capital Fund - Councillor Mike Eddy feels chances of bringing about change are increased:

"There is a potential scheme which we are discussing with Highways officers. The next stage would be an initial costing of the job."

Dean Curry, proprietor of Pleasure Angling, comments:

"And about bloody time."

Golf Road potholes being repaired

Kent Online, 27th November 2014

Despairing cyclists - and anglers on their way to Sandwich Bay to fish the marks at the Sandwich Bay Sailing Club slipway, The Chequers Inn and 4th green of the Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club - using Golf Road between North Deal and Sandwich need fear the route no longer now that resurfacing work has started.

In recent months the Mercury has followed the plight of cyclists who claim they and other road users are endangered by "lethal" potholes that pose as death traps - especially when hidden from view by puddles in the winter. The Mercury reported last month that the responsibility for the road's maintenance was inherited by Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club from cycling charity Sustrans, but Sustrans did not hand it back to the Golf Club in the state it had received it and so a series of repair-delaying negotiations ensued.

This week, Steve Dorritt, chairman of Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club, wrote to the Mercury:

"Readers who have been following the correspondence about the potholes on Golf Road between Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club and Sandwich will be interested to know that it is being resurfaced this week by Kent County Council. I would like to thank cyclists for their patience during the last few months while negotiations with KCC have been taking place."

The three days of scheduled works started on Tuesday. Gary Holmes, vice chairman of Deal Tri, said:

"It's been a year and a half and we're really pleased. It's a safe road as an alternative to riding along the A258 Sandwich Road and we are delighted that Sustrans, Royal Cinque Ports Golf Club and KCC have sorted it out. And it's good news we can use it again at the weekend."

He added that the route is very important to the cycling community in the area, especially now more people are using it to cycle to Discovery Park.

The Golf Club's accountability for the road applies to the section between the Club and the Bird Observatory hide, close to Sandwich Bay Private Estate. The road makes up part of the National Cycle network which allows cyclists to ride from Dover to the Shetland Isles.

Killer potholes in Golf Road … and a bike.

The black seadevil - world's ugliest fish

Science, 24th November 2014

A new video, posted by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, takes a closer look at the black seadevil, a deep-sea anglerfish from the genus Melanocetus. According to the MBARI it's actually the first time this particular species has been filmed alive at this depth - 580 metres (1,900 feet).

The black seadevil may look scary but they are rather small - 9 cm or 3½ inches in length. Female anglers have a fishing pole style apparatus with a luminous tip which attracts prey in the darkness of the deep. The males are smaller and don't have a fishing pole or lure so they are ill-equipped for feeding. The tiny pale dots on the side of the fish are organs which are sensitive to movement. Living in the depths of the sea, the black seadevil has to rely more on movement than sight if they want to catch their dinner. Once fish come towards the light the angler inhales and then traps the prey in its teeth.

British fish and chips comes to Norway

Fishupdate, 25th November 2014

The Norwegians this week are learning how to create fish and chips in the British style and tradition. Ten regional finalists in the UK Fish and Chips Awards contest are in the port of Alesund to learn more about Norway's fish catching and processing industry and its sustainable fishing practices.

Under a scheme called Codshare, Norway is trying to sell more cod and haddock into Britain and views the UK's 10,000 fish and chip outlets - by far the largest of all the fast food sectors - as an important market. These outlets sell over 300 million fish and chip meals a year which amounts to a huge amount of cod. This charm offensive has now been going on for almost two years with Norway building up a strong relationship with UK fish friers.

On their visit, the UK fish friers will go on a short trip on a factory trawler to study the sort of fish fillet production and rapid freezing techniques which gives Norwegian cod that superior edge. The country's fishing industry is particularly proud of its sustainable catching techniques. Later on they will meet Norwegian chefs and fast food owners to teach them the art of cooking fish and chips the British way. While there, they also hope to pick up a number of Norwegian fish cooking tips and ideas as well. There are hopes the dish could eventually catch on in Norway; for example, the Norwegian Seafood Council, which is organising the visit, sees potential for fish and chip outlets at such places as truckstops and cafeterias.

The visit will culminate in a grand buffet dinner (presumably cod and chips).

Night fishermen's pier closure dismay

Eleanor Perkins, East Kent Mercury: 20th November 2014

Anglers fear council will make restrictions on Sunday night opening hours permanent.

Fishermen John Green (left) and Darren Smith (centre) and Channel Angling tackle shop owner Fred Leach (right),
are disappointed with the latest changes to the opening hours of Deal Pier

Night fishermen are shocked that Deal Pier will be closed from midnight until 8am for the next two Sundays. Dover District Council blamed the closure on staff shortages and said it was only temporary, but fishermen fear it could become more permanent.

The pier, which held the 2014 British Open Sea Fishing Championship, is a popular fishing location, especially for all-night anglers. Over the past four years, the council has slowly reduced its opening hours. Until recently, it was open throughout the night on Fridays, but now Saturday is the only day the service is on offer. Fisherman Paul Goodburn, 23, who has used the pier for two years, has already felt the impact of its closure. He said:

"Saturday night is the only time I get to night-fish on the pier. Losing this has been of great detriment to me and many others."

Mr Goodburn said he feared the latest restrictions could become permanent, and that the pier would become fully closed on Saturday nights and the midnight closing time on Friday will be moved back to 6.30pm, in line with other weekdays. Fisherman John Green agreed. He said:

"I'm disappointed. I do night-fishing 20 to 30 times a year, and this time of year is when all the main fish are about."

Darren Smith said:

"The last couple of years they've changed the opening hours. The prices are going up by £1.50. The best fishing is after dark and that's when the pier is shut."

On 25th November Bob Hockless added:

"As one of many wheelchair users who use the pier as it is our only access to sea fishing, it is with great sadness that the council are closing the pier on Saturday nights throughout November. I find it disgusting that people who fish pay for the privilege but are being let down by the council - it is the people who fish that keep the pier open for those who can walk on for free. Deal pier has a heritage of fishing that goes back many years and it could be lost because of cut-backs and cheap savings by the council."

The tackle shops located on Beach Street rely on the fishermen for trade. In recent months, Fred Leach, owner of Channel Angling, has been staying open until 10pm on Saturdays to build up trade. He said:

"I get lots of phone calls from people wanting to order bait for Saturday night, and I have to tell them it's not all night. They're very disappointed. When I first came here, three and half years ago, there were more fisherman on the pier. As they've reduced the hours, they've gone elsewhere. Instead of promoting the pier, the council are doing the opposite. In my opinion, Deal Pier is the main attraction of the town. It's a shame it's not getting the attention it needs."

A DDC spokesman said:

"Unfortunately, due to temporary staff shortages, Deal Pier will be closed from midnight to 8 am on Sunday mornings for the remainder of November. We are working to address this short-term issue, with a view to the normal winter timetable commencing from December. We apologise for any inconvenience caused."

Marlowe cast light up Deal town tonight

East Kent Mercury, 21st November 2014

The cast of this year's Marlowe pantomime Aladdin will be switching Deal's Christmas lights on tonight (Friday, 21st November). The Kingsdown band will be performing in front of St George's Church from 6pm. Father Christmas will make an appearance at about 7pm with the lights going on at 7.30pm.

Pressing the switch will be the cast of Aladdin including Scott Maslin, who is better known as Jack Branning on EastEnders and before that DS Phil Hunter on The Bill, and Phil Gallagher who young children will know as Mister Maker from Cbeebies.

Some shops will remain open until late serving refreshments, including Love Drinks, which will be selling hot dogs and complementary mulled wine. Merry Gardens will also remain open to collect for charity.

Deal Pier early Sunday closures

Announcement by Dover District Council, 13th November 2014

Due to staff shortages the pier will be closed from 00:00 to 08:00 on each Sunday in November.

The winter opening times from Monday, 1st December to Tuesday, 31st March 2015 are as follows:

Bass - don't let the EU off the hook

B.A.S.S., 11th November 2014

For years, the EU and Fisheries Ministers have succumbed to pressure from commercial fishing lobbyists and set catch limits far in excess of what the scientists said was sustainable. The new Common Fisheries Policy ("CFP") requires the EU to fish sustainably from 2015, by following the scientific advice about how much fish can be caught. The first big test of this new approach will be the December EU Council meeting, where the Council of Fisheries Ministers of the EU Member States set the "fishing opportunities" for the majority of EU fish stocks.

The scientific body which advises the EU on fish stocks, the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas ("ICES"), has advised that stocks of bass have fallen so low that catches for 2015 must be cut by a massive 80% in order to avoid a collapse of the stock. This situation has come about due to a combination of increasing fishing pressure and a number of poor spawning years, leading to low numbers of young bass growing to become adults and reproducing.

So you would expect that the EU would now be proposing wide-ranging rescue measures for 2015 to save the bass for the Fisheries Ministers to agree in December. Measures that have been discussed include:

However, the EU has just published its proposals and it appears that the legal requirement to fish sustainably from 2015 has being thrown overboard. The EU has proposed:

Recreational anglers and conservationists are understandably outraged. It is clear that the measures proposed go nowhere near achieving the 80% cut in catches advised by ICES; and to add insult to injury, the proposals disproportionately target recreational anglers while commercial fishing largely gets off the hook.

The sad, but obvious, conclusion appears to be that once again the EU has caved in to the commercial fishing lobby and turned a deaf ear to the scientists. Our only immediate hope lies with the Fisheries Ministers of the EU Member States and our MEPs; If we can persuade them to listen to our protests then they can instruct the EU to replace its proposals with a meaningful action plan that will in time result in a large, sustainable, bass stock.

B.A.S.S. is therefore urgently encouraging everyone who is concerned about our marine environment to write to their MP, MEPs and the Fisheries Minister, George Eustice MP, to demand an 80% cut in the amount of bass landed from 2015, as the scientists advise, before it's too late.

Please also sign the petition at:

M.P. for Dover & Deal: Charlie Elphicke M.P.

Click here to send a single email to all eight south-east M.E.Ps (Catherine Bearder, Keith Taylor, Daniel Hannan, Janice Atkinson, Richard Ashworth, Anneliese Dodds, Nigel Farage and Nirj Deva).

Sea Fishing Magazine article (13th November 2014)

Channel ecosystem transformed by unsustainable fishing practices

Marine Conservation Society

A recently published report shows that many fish species, especially those at the top of the food chain, are faring badly in the English Channel. The report's authors say that this is evidence of "fishing down the food chain". Since the 1940s, commonly-landed fish like spurdog, cod, and ling have come to be replaced in fishermens' nets by fish such as small spotted catsharks (dogfish), and shellfish such as scallops, crabs and lobster. The authors recommend a network of fisheries closures to help get the ecosystem back on the path to recovery. Dr Jean-Luc Solandt, MCS senior biodiversity policy officer, says

"This report adds evidence to what we have known for a number of years now - that the huge efforts of fishing boats from many nations are continuing to fish down the food chain in the English Channel - and elsewhere. We really need governments to take on board the urgent need to better protect our seas. There isn't one square kilometre of the English Channel that is protected from all forms of fishing. Recently the government has applied pressure to stop destructive fishing in protected areas where reefs exist in the English Channel. This demonstrates that recovery is possible if areas are closed to damaging fishing gear."

A number of Channel sites are timetabled for consultation as "Marine Conservation Zones" in Spring 2015. MCS will be keeping up the pressure on Government to designate these sites, and will be seeking your support nearer the time.

Report's Conclusion:

"The community-level changes observed in the English Channel reflect those that have occurred in other heavily-fished systems around Europe and the rest of the world. The use of the Marine Trophic Index (MTI) and the Fisheries-in-Balance Index (FiB) on this long-term data series have helped expose a major shift from demersal fish to shellfish landings in the English Channel as a consequence of an unsustainable fishing practice fuelled by "perverse economic incentives". These trends may be reversed by removing fishing pressure from within a network of closed areas and by implementing more rigid management measures including decommissioning schemes and reduction in fishing effort."

Overfishing and the Replacement of Demersal Finfish by Shellfish: An Example from the English Channel, Molfese C, Beare D, Hall-Spencer JM (2014)

Eat two portions of fish a week

Fishupdate 10th November 2014

The Grimsby Fish Merchants Association says more needs to be done to deliver the message that people need to eat at least two portions of fish a week for the sake of their health. Chief executive, Steve Norton, made the call after Seafish published research showing that 96% of adults don't know how much omega-3 they should have each week. Writing in the FMA newsletter, Norton said:

"The fact they should eat two portions a week, of which one should be oily fish, is a very simple message."

The Seafish research was carried out by YouGov as part of the Fish is the Dish "Feed Your Mind" omega-3 campaign. The study found that while 75% of adults know that omega-3 fats are linked to health benefits - such as helping to keep the heart working normally and maintaining normal blood pressure, brain function and vision - almost a fifth (18%) don't know the difference between omega-3 and saturated fats. The Seafish report says:

"If people achieve this, then they should get the 3g of long-chain omega-3 fats, recommended by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition. But it's important to get the serving size right!"

Disappointingly, but unsurprisingly, 63% of adults said they didn't know the weight of fish that should count as one serving. Only 15% knew that, when cooked, the recommended serving size should be about 140g (5 oz). Juliette Kellow, "Fish is the Dish" resident consultant dietician and nutrition expert explains:

"There is work to be done educating people on how much omega-3 rich fish we should be eating in order to reap the benefits for our bodies. As a starting point, we need to do more to ensure that people understand the very simple message that they should eat two portions of fish each week, and one of these should be oily such as mackerel, sardines, pilchards, herring, fresh tuna, trout or salmon. If people achieve this, then they should get the 3g of long-chain omega-3 fats, recommended by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition."

Steve Norton said Seafish had delivered an important message and it was important to get it out to the public at large.

Deal wins Daily Telegraph's "top 20 coastal towns" poll

ITV News: Saturday, 8th November 2014

Deal has won the title "Britain's best coastal town" with 1,775 (20.15%) of the 8,811 votes cast.

"It's a jewel on the Kent coast, a top destination for folk from around the country. Yes, the town of Deal has been recognised, in a poll for a national newspaper, as one of the best coastal towns around."

David Johns has been to see what makes it so special; he speaks to local estate agent Nigel Colebrook, and MP Charlie Elphicke.

The town is grateful to the 1,775 fans who voted for it.

EU to limit anglers to one bass a day

Footprint, 6th November 2014

The European Commission has recommended that anglers should be fined if they catch and keep more than one bass a day as part of its effort to prevent over fishing.

The proposal comes as the EU warns that stocks of the popular fish are in "rapid decline" and measures need to be taken in order to limit the number of bass caught by recreational anglers. The one-a-day restriction will apply to over 200,000 anglers who currently fish from boats around the British Isles, despite strong evidence suggesting that commercial fisherman, particularly French trawlers, are to blame.

The EU's recommendations were based on scientific evidence compiled by The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea which has suggested an 80% cut in bass fishing throughout the European Union.

The Angling Trust, told The Times that the proposed one-per-day limit was "grossly disproportionate" and would threaten thousands of jobs, including people who employed charter boats, in fishing tackle shops and at seaside pubs and guest houses. The group also disputed the claim that anglers were responsible for up to a third of bass caught. Martin Salter, the trust's campaign co-ordinator, told The Times:

"The commission is targeting the people least responsible for bass mortality. It's a bit like trying to reduce road deaths from speeding by targeting cyclists rather than drivers."

He also added that a limit of two or three bass a day could be maintainable as long as tougher restrictions were brought in to monitor commercial fishing.

Last week the Angling Trust launched their own campaign to encourage the Fisheries Minister to increase the legal minimum size of caught fish from 36 cm to 45 cm to ensure that younger, smaller fish have the opportunity to breed and increase numbers.

Nigel Horsman of B.A.S.S. said:

"Urgent and very significant action is needed to prevent a total collapse of bass stocks, of a kind that some other fisheries around the world have struggled to recover from. Bass is our most valuable sea fish due to the very high economic value derived from recreational sea angling and we simply should not have allowed stocks to have been overfished to this extent."

British fish and chips heading to Vegas

Fishupdate, 7th November 2014

Traditional British fish and chips are coming to the gambling city of Las Vegas - thanks to Gordon Ramsay. The Scottish celebrity chef, who already has three other restaurants in the city, confirmed through a spokesperson to the Sunday People newspaper that he had "applied for the trademark Gordon Ramsay Fish & Chips, and is looking at options in Vegas but nothing confirmed yet." Fish and chips English style is becoming increasingly popular in the USA.

Deal leads Daily Telegraph's "top 20 coastal towns" poll

Kent Online, 31st October 2014

Deal has been named as one of Britain's best coastal towns by The Telegraph online. An article by Becky Dickinson lists the top 20 coastal towns to consider if one is planning to relocate to the coast.

Readers have been voting on where they think is best, with Deal already waves ahead of its competition. Deal currently has 26% of the vote, while second is Looe, Cornwall, with 12%.

The Telegraph comments on the town's fifties vibe with its attractive mix of writers, musicians and business people. Nigel Colebrook of Bright and Bright commented:

"It's a destination town. You only come to Deal to come to Deal. It's still relatively unchanged, unspoilt."

The media group also gives mention to the sought-after conservation area of Middle Street, with Georgian cottages selling for £300,000 to £400,000. But relocators should still give thought to the old miners' homes, which start at £150,000.

This is just another string to Deal's bow, after the town won the accolade of "High Street of the Year" in January. Deal was also listed as one of the "top 30 best places to visit for a weekend retreat" by The Times newspaper, in April.

If you have not already done so, please vote for your favourite coastal town (Deal) here.

Welcome to the great indoors!

Dovetail Games Fishing 4th November 2014

Dovetail Games Fishing brings the challenge and excitement of real fishing into the living room, delivering both authentic action and a compelling contest. With many ways to play, multiple locations, multiplayer competition and full tutorials this faithful simulation rewards skill, knowledge and experience to entertain everyone from the complete novice to the seasoned specimen hunter.

Utilising the very latest graphical technology with Unreal Engine 4, Dovetail Games Fishing will look and feel as close to the "reel thing" as is possible without leaving your house.

Norway's new nautical notes

Norges Bank 7th October 2014

In spring 2014, a competition was held for the design of motifs for the new Norway banknote series. The purpose of the competition was to arrive at a proposal that could be the artistic basis of the new banknote series and communicate the theme "The Sea" in an appropriate manner.

The central bank of Norway decided to award the commission to the Oslo-based graphic design firm The Metric System together with the Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta whose designs will be used, respectively, for the front (obverse) and back (reverse) of the country's new notes.

The new banknotes, which are expected to be put into circulation in 2017, are considered to be the world's best money ever designed. The 50, 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 krone notes are in green, maroon, blue, brown and purple colours.

The Metric System's series called "The Living Spaces" was selected for the obverse side of the banknotes and will showcase traditional and iconic Norwegian images - Viking ship (50), lighthouse (100), cod (200), rescue boat 'Stavanger' (500) and fierce North Sea (1000) plus the necessary anti-counterfeiting watermarks and serial numbers. To avoid confusion as they switch to the new design, the colours used for each denomination is based on the current colour scheme of Norway's banknotes.

On the reverse side of each banknote are designs by Snøhetta, an architecture firm which has designed some of Norway's most recognizable public buildings such as the Oslo Opera House, a contemporary architecture that looks like an iceberg seeping into the Oslofjord beneath it. Their design for the banknotes feature images of the Norwegian coastline, distorted and pixellated based on the Beaufort wind scale; even-sized squares for the 50 krone notes which represent a gentle wind, and long stretches of colour for the 1000 krone note to signify strong wind.

However, the cod is the star of Norway's new banknotes and appears on the face of the new 200 krone note (roughly equivalent to a £20 note). The cod is set on the sea-blue background of the 20 krone note which has been described by the Governor of the Bank of Norway Mr Øystein Olsen as the country's business card:

"The theme is both original and unique to Norway. Norway is a small country, but an important coastal nation. Utilisation of marine resources and the use of the sea as a transport, has been a prerequisite for the development of economy and society in our country."

Write to your MP to save bass

Angling Trust, 31st October 2014

The Angling Trust has this week urged anglers to flood MPs' offices with thousands of letters and emails pressing parliamentarians to raise the bass conservation issues with the fisheries ministers in both Westminster and the Welsh Assembly Government. A template letter to MPs has been prepared alongside a new, political Fishing Lines briefing (see links below) which includes a series of helpful parliamentary questions making the case for action now to save our bass.

The move comes after the publication by Cefas of results from the recent Solent bass survey in the English Channel confirming that there have been five poor year classes in a row (2008 - 2012) which offers a bleak prospect for the future of bass stocks.

The issue was raised directly at last week's National Angling Summit at Defra with fisheries minister George Eustice, who has agreed to look again at the longstanding case for raising the bass minimum landing size (mls). This has now been followed up with a joint letter from the Angling Trust and the Bass Angler's Sportfishing Society (B.A.S.S.) to the minister challenging the current policy which has appeared, until now, to rely on the EU to implement common measures across the whole North Atlantic fishery rather than taking domestic measures to benefit the inshore waters.

The Fishing Lines briefing to politicians highlights the powerful economic case for recreational sea angling. It says:

"A collapse in bass stocks or a total moratorium on all forms of bass fishing would be disastrous for recreational sea angling which, according to Defra's own Sea Angling 2012 report shows there are 884,000 sea anglers in England who directly pump £1.23 billion p.a. into the economy and upon which 10,400 full time jobs are dependent. If induced and indirect impacts are taken into account these figures soar to £2.1 billion and 23,600 jobs. The VAT alone which is collected from sea anglers dwarfs the entire value of all commercial fish landings in England. In purely economic terms, we would be better off if bass were retained as a line caught species only with the bulk of the market demand met by farmed fish. This would immediately revive the UK fishery for both the inshore under ten metre commercial fleet, who would be in position to provide a premium product caught in a sustainable way, and the recreational sector - the majority of whom practice catch and release."

It goes on to stress the need for urgent domestic conservation measures, similar to those already adopted by the Dutch and Irish, irrespective of the outcome of the current EU process which may well end up being watered down by the European parliament.

In their joint letter to the minister, B.A.S.S. and the Trust press the case for raising the bass minimum landing size beyond the lowest spawning length of 42 cm to allow the species to successfully breed. They wrote:

"It is self evident that allowing the harvesting of a species before it has had an opportunity to breed is completely unsustainable and will lead to serious stock depletion. Why have a bass mls at all that fails to do the job of protecting immature bass?"

Raising the minimum legal size for bass from 36 cm to 45 cm in the UK would achieve the following outcomes:

  1. Contribute towards the necessary 80% reduction in catches recommended by ICES which is highly unlikely to be achieved by EU measures alone.
  2. Improve the recruitment of bass and protect the year classes upon which a stock recovery will have to be built.
  3. Contribute to the UK's obligation under the reformed Common Fisheries Policy to achieve maximum sustainable yield for all stocks.
  4. Reduce the fishing mortality from both recreational and commercial fishing in a fair and even-handed way.
  5. Sow the seed for the development and long term increased profitability of the £5m commercial and £200m recreational bass fisheries in the UK.

Angling Trust Campaign Chief Martin Salter said:

"Successive fisheries ministers from both sides of politics have been well aware of the increasingly parlous state of bass numbers and the long overdue need for the introduction of measures to prevent a catastrophic stock collapse. Sadly, it now seems that this collapse could be about to happen. With the exception of Labour's Ben Bradshaw, who tried unsuccessfully to raise the ridiculously inadequate bass minimum landing size (mls), and the Conservative's Richard Benyon, who instigated the current mls review, other ministers have been reluctant to either heed the warnings or follow scientific advice. The recent ICES advice for a massive 80% reduction in bass mortality gives George Eustice the perfect opportunity to introduce long overdue conservation measures to save this most popular of sporting fish. The more political pressure we can bring to bear to the less chance there will be of anglers voices being drowned out by the commercial sector's lobbyists."

Nigel Horsman of B.A.S.S. added:

"The scientific evidence is alarmingly clear. Urgent and very significant action is needed to prevent a total collapse of bass stocks, of a kind that some other fisheries around the world have struggled to recover from. Bass is our most valuable sea fish due to the very high economic value derived from recreational sea angling and we simply should not have allowed stocks to have been overfished to this extent."

Angling Trust Marine Campaign Manager David Mitchell said:

"Thankfully recommendations to reduce catches by 80 per cent are not common but unfortunately - due to total unwillingness by the EU and the UK government to act sooner - that's where we now find ourselves with bass stocks. The situation is bleak and the scientific advice must be followed. It can be achieved but will require two layers of action to achieve what is necessary, one at EU level and one at UK level. Any deviation from this jeopardises the future of the species and bass fishing not just in the UK, but across much of Europe."

Contact details for MPs

Draft letter to MPs
Fishing Lines briefing paper

SSACN campaign for EU ban on landing tope

For Argyll Website, 31st October 2014

SSACN reports that, following years of campaigning backed up by the data from its Scottish Shark Tagging Programme (SSTP), tope (Galeorhinus galeus) is a new addition to the European Commission's recommendation for prohibited fish in 2015.

The work and campaigns of SSACN contributed to the designation of a Scottish Statutory Instrument (SSI) for tope in 2012. This designation made tope in Scottish waters the best protected in Europe. However, due to the highly migratory nature of tope, evidenced by several tagging programmes, SSACN has spent many years campaigning and lobbying for an increase in their protection throughout European waters.

While inclusion on this new list does not automatically mean increased protection for tope (and the other shark species on the list, including spurdog and porbeagle), it does mean that they will be discussed directly by all EU fisheries ministers in a meeting on the 15th and 16th December of this year. Ian Burrett from the SSTP says:

"I have been tagging tope for many years and every year there are fewer of them. It cannot be a coincidence that they are disappearing and the EU has no science-based catch limit for them anywhere."

The SSTP has noted declines in tope numbers over the last decade and since they are targeted by several nations there is sure to be some opposition to their inclusion on the list. However, this is a major step towards increased protection for this species and SSACN is delighted that its sustained efforts have propelled the species into the frame of discussion at these December meetings.

The final proposal will be decided at the meeting on the 16th December and all decisions will come into effect from the 1st of January 2015.

Deal Festival of Music and the Arts 2015

Festival Website

2015 marks the thirty-third anniversary of the Deal Festival of Music and the Arts, one of the landmarks of the English music festival scene and a treasured East Kent institution, bringing music and arts lovers from far and wide to enjoy concerts and other events from world-class artists in an eclectic selection of venues and settings.

The 2015 festival is scheduled for the two week period Saturday, 27th June to Sunday, 12th July. The venues include:

Please update your diary and check out the festival and venue websites regularly for news of festival and other events …

Kent & Essex IFCA considers local fisheries management options

Kent & Essex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (KEIFCA)

A meeting will take place on Tuesday, 4th November 2014 to discuss in detail the potential fisheries management options for the following four MCZ sites\proposed MCZ sites:

  1. Folkestone Pomerania MCZ
  2. Dover to Deal proposed MCZ
  3. Dover to Folkestone proposed MCZ
  4. Hythe Bay proposed MCZ

At this meeting members of KEIFCA together with representatives from the Fishing Industry, NGOs, Defra, Natural England, Cefas, Environment Agency and the MMO will meet to discuss the data, process, regulatory options and timelines for delivery.

The meeting will take place at the Pleydell Room at The Best Western Clifton Hotel, The Leas, Clifton Gardens, Folkestone, Kent CT20 2EB beginning at 11am. The first half of the meeting will be open to the public and any interested party is welcome to attend. Details of the matters to be discussed can be viewed by clicking here.

If you wish to come to this meeting then please contact the office on 01843 585310 or email

Invasion Coast: new coastal walk from Walmer to Deal

Caroline Millar, Project Manager Discovering Britain, Royal Geographical Society

The Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) has just published a brand new coastal walk from Walmer to Deal (Invasion Coast) as part of its Discovering Britain series of interpretive walks around the UK.

The walk begins in the medieval village of Walmer and follows the coast to Deal to investigate how this landscape has been on the frontline of invasion throughout its history. On this six (6) mile stroll, walkers will find out how the area's unique geography led both to prosperity and invasion (from the forces of the sea as well as overseas invaders). As well as the more obvious places of interest along the route, the guided walk goes off the beaten track to tell some of the little known stories of Walmer and Deal's fascinating history.

The route of the walk includes Deal Pier (stop 14) which is also recommended as a place to visit on the local links page of the Royal Geographical Society's website.

Oy vey - fish and chips are kosher nosh [1]

Fishupdate briefing

Fish and chips a great British dish? Well, after a fashion according to Dr Paul Levy, co-author of the Official Foodie Handbook and chairman of the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery. He says its origins are somewhat more exotic.

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph last week Dr Levy says battered fish was the legacy of the Portuguese Marranos in the 16th century, a group of nominal Christians who were secretly practising Jews who fried their fish on Fridays, the Christian world's traditional fish day. The recipe found itself into the first Jewish cookery book which was later translated into English. Dr Levy says what was once regarded a distinctly working class meal has now found popularity among all classes and is now being served in the poshest of London's restaurants. And he has named his three cats - fish, chips and mushy peas in honour of the meal.

[1] nosh is derived from the Yiddish nashn, from Middle High German naschen to eat on the sly.

Deal and Walmer's Piscatorial Past

Review by Alan Yates

Deal and Walmer's Piscatorial Past by Dave Chamberlain, photographs by Basil Kidd, document the remarkable sea angling catches of the 1960s and 70s and the dramatic decline of the shore and boat fishing in the south east of England since that time. Some readers may say that the anglers themselves did the damage with their disgraceful piles of dead cod and pollack. Others that it was the commercial fleets who have also long gone. Whatever, the fact remains that in those days when PC didn't mean anything other than Police Constable, huge rod and line catches of fish were commonplace and they were simply laid out and photographed.

Dave Chamberlain was a charter skipper in those days and he and his beach-launched boat, Morning Haze, plied their trade from the Deal shore. Basil Kidd, now departed, was the local news photographer who would go anywhere anytime for a big fish picture. Between them they have produced a remarkable history of the changes that have occurred to sea angling nationally and this small section of the Kent shore in the very recent past. A great addition to any sea angler's book collection.

The Book, ISBN 978-0-9548439-4-6, is published by Beaches Books and is available for £4.99 on Amazon, eBay, Pleasure Angling and Channel Angling.

Saul Page captures British title

East Kent Mercury: Thursday, 16th October 2014

British Sea Angling Championship winners: from left, runner-up Louie Smith, winner Saul Page and third-placed Martyn Reid

England international Saul Page took a clear victory in the British Sea Angling Championships fished at Deal, Walmer and Sandown beaches at the weekend writes Alan Yates. He caught 23 fish for 4.5 kg, nearly 2 kg ahead of his nearest rival, fellow Deal angler Louie Smith, who weighed in eight fish for 2.58 kg.

Page fished a clipped down rig at long range using worm and crab baits and landed whiting and dogfish from peg 16 at the Sandwich end of the venue. He took the top prize of £500 plus pools. Smith's consolation was that he included the event's biggest fish, a bass of 1.44 kg, in his total and that won the biggest fish prize which was also £500. Third was Martyn Reid, of Folkestone, with 2.14 kg.

Page had recently returned to Deal from international duty in France with rest of the England shore squad. He was the top individual in the team, in sixth place overall.

Sunday's competition turned out to be a disappointment in terms of weather with the sea settling and clearing, and the expected bumper catches didn't materialise. Otherwise everything went well with 238 anglers turning out from all over the south. It was the low peg numbers from 1 to 50 at the Sandwich end of the venue where the water stayed coloured that produced most of the fish and the winners, with the Walmer and Sandown zones relatively poor. Although, as usual this is more to do with the tide, with Walmer renowned for producing its best catches at low water.

Zone winners included Richard Yates, Kevin Tregian and Mark Cole, while the best flat fish prize went to Rex Palmer, of Hastings, with a 0.35 kg flounder. The team event went to Team Asso, comprising Page, Yates, Tim Fagg and Julian Shambrook of Torquay.

British Open: Sunday, 12th October 2014


Louis Smith (2nd) Saul Page (1st) Martyn Reid (3rd)

Position Name Weight (kg) Fish Caught
1st Saul Page 4.5 23
2nd Louis Smith 2.58 8
3rd Martyn Reid 2.41 14
4th Darren Mills 2.22 7
5th Brian Nickleson 2.04 12
6th Ian Reynolds 1.7 7
7th Richard Burt 1.68 10
8th Robbie Taylor 1.64 10
9th Danny Woodcock 1.54 8
10th Robert Harwood-Brown 1.52 8
11th Richard Yates 1.48 3
12th Nick May 1.41 3
13th Daz Newland 1.39 3
14th Martin Jenkins 1.38 8
15th Alan Underdown 1.34 7
16th Dave Tanner 1.33 3
17th Barry Wilmshurst 1.22 8
18th Kevin Tregian 1.1 1
19th Richard Dorgan 1.03 6
20th Mark Cole 0.98 2

Heaviest flatfish: Rex Palmer (350g Flounder)

Heaviest roundfish: Louis Smith (1.44kg Bass)

Team Winners: Anyfish Asso

Zone Winners

Quarterdeck site homes will have view of pier

East Kent Mercury: Thursday, 9th October 2014

New unfinished apartments at a former night spot and function hall in Deal are being marketed for sale. The details for 14 new two-bedroom apartments are listed on the website of Deal and Sandwich-based estate agents Colebrook Sturrock. Two ground floor units - ideal for retail or restaurant use - are also available to let. Ten of the apartments boast sea views overlooking Deal Pier. The site says:

"The apartments are ideal seaside homes for either a main residence or a second home and although no parking is provided on-site, there is a public car park close by and secure bicycle storage is available for each apartment in a ground floor store."

The website goes on to say:

"If purchased early there is a choice from a range of contemporary style kitchens with integrated fridge-freezer, dishwasher, electric oven, ceramic hob, stainless steel chimney extractor and resin stone work kitchen surfaces."

The Quarterdeck was built as an entertainment centre by Deal Borough Council in 1973. It was passed on to the district council after local government reorganisation and its final use was as a nightclub, which closed in 2007. Demolition work started in November last year.

Battle for national title

East Kent Mercury: Thursday, 9th October 2014

The coming weekend, writes Alan Yates, is Deal's major competition of the sea angling year with the British Open Sea Angling Championships being fished from the Deal, Walmer, Sandown and Sandwich beaches on Sunday.

Fishing times are from 11am until 4pm. The entry fee is £15 and the major prizes include £500 for the overall top weight, £500 for the biggest round fish and £500 for the biggest flatfish.

Junior entry is £10 and they have their own major prize list. There is also a sponsored prize table from Anyfish Anywhere, Asso lines and Tronix Pro.

Other features include a spool of Asso line free for every competitor, plus a Golden Peg of £50 in each of the four sections that will be drawn at the prize presentation and goes only to those that attend the prize-giving.

Double pegs are available for disabled, juniors etc and the pier section is open for juniors and disabled only. There is also a team of four. Book in and draw on Saturday night from 7pm at 13 The Marina, Deal or draw on the day from 7am. For its pre-book only for a peg, etc call 01303 253881.

… Sea anglers please be aware that the Allis shad is a legally protected species and should be returned alive (it looks like a large herring). Shad have been weighed in at recent competitions and this leaves anglers open to prosecution.

South East Fishing Forum Invitation

Fishing Magic: Wednesday, 8th October 2014

Anglers are invited to attend the Angling Trust South-East Fishing Forum on Thursday, 6th November 2014 at the Jack and Jill Inn, Brighton Road, Clayton, West Sussex BN6 9PD. Tea and coffee will be served from 18.45 and the meeting will start at 19.15.

The meeting is open to all and free to attend and anyone wishing to do so should register their intention with John Cheyne

Items that will be covered include:

  1. New invasive species update
  2. Cormorant predation news
  3. Combating illegal canoeing progress
  4. KHV advice
  5. Environment Agency update
  6. Migrant angler issues
  7. Q&A session for anglers to ask about the issues they are concerned about

The Angling Trust will also be holding their South-East Forum AGM which will run for 10 minutes at the start of the meeting. Posts up for election are Volunteer Chair and Secretary. If anyone wishes to stand for either of the posts they should contact John Cheyne

Kent's September weather the driest since records began

Kent Online: Thursday, 2nd October 2014

Kent has enjoyed a record-breaking dry spell as the predicted Indian summer failed to disappoint. The county experienced its driest September since records began more than a century ago, with just 7.2 mm of rainfall. That is only 13% of what would normally be expected at this time of year, making Kent one of the driest places in the UK.

It is also considerably lower than the country's total of 19.4 mm of rainfall for September - a record-breaker in itself, and just 20% of what would be expected. Met Office meteorologist Mark Wilson explains:

"The jetstream that affects the UK has been particularly far north throughout September. High pressure has therefore been the dominant pressure pattern. It brings dry, fine and settled conditions with plenty of sunshine. What it's also done is deflect areas of low pressure that bring wind and rain in from the Atlantic and kept them at bay."

But before keen gardeners and car wash enthusiasts worry about a potential hosepipe ban, experts say they are not concerned about the dry spell's impact on water levels. This is because the mild conditions are in stark contrast to the previous eight months, which were the WETTEST on record. Mr Wilson continues:

"It's quite exceptional to have a record-breaking wet period followed by a record-breaking dry September. But it's down to the general topsy-turvy nature of the UK's weather. We do have a variation of weather types coming in from all different directions because we are an island. As a result, we can have a real fluctuation in weather conditions from month to month."

Environment Agency deputy director of water resources Trevor Bishop adds:

"Following the wettest January to August on record, water resources in England are around normal for the time of year. Even if rainfall is below average this autumn the country will not go into drought."

But the warm spell is not set to last as we head into the weekend. It is expected to turn wetter, windier and noticably fresher, with temperatures dropping down to the October average - or possibly lower.

Charity fishing match: Demelza Hospice Care for Children

Report by Warren Hayes: Sunday, 28th September 2014

Sunday started early for the organisers with Warren Hayes, Stevie Ness, Shane Bradford, John Swinerd, Debbie Swinerd, Jodie Swinerd and Vincent Kemp arriving in Deal to set up registration and the prize tables. The conditions on the morning were not ideal with clear water and a bright sun. Fifty competitors turned up to fish and help raise money for two great charities. At 11am the match started and the stewards set off to walk the beaches and pier to find what was happening and what was being caught with not much of either being reported. 4pm quickly came and so did all the anglers with not much written on their score cards - only nine out of the 50 anglers returned their catch cards with most reporting undersize fish. All the juniors did well to find fish and showed the adults how it was done. The results were as follows:

Juniors Adults
1st Jake Watkinson 1st Louie Smith
2nd Lucas Long 2nd Dan Bradley
3rd Oliver Saint 3rd Ashley Taylor

Louie Smith did well taking £180 in first place prize money with a total length of 266 cm. He also won both the biggest round and biggest flat fish prizes with, respectively, a dogfish of 66 cm and a dab of 31 cm which landed him another £160 in cash prizes.

Dan Bradley took second place with a total length of 202 cm taking £100 in prize money. Finally, Ashley Taylor took 3rd place with 62 cm and a £80 cash prize.

We also saw a couple fish caught which are not common on our shores - a tub gurnard caught by Ashley Taylor and a shad caught by junior angler Jake Watkinson.

There was also a large selection of raffle prizes donated by tackle companies and local tackle shops in Deal, Dover and surrounding areas. We had a great time organising it and have already received a lot of positive feedback. We look forward to next year's competition with a possible sponsor onboard already. So hopefully we will see you all again next year and some new faces.

Cod and chips not always what they seem 26th September 2014

One in six portions of cod sold in UK fish and chip shops is actually a cheaper species, the consumer watchdog organisation Which? says. The revelation comes at a time when the government has recently announced the creation of a new food crime unit which has been set up in the wake of the horsemeat scandal. But it will also look at fish. The consumer watchdog took DNA samples from 45 portions of cod and haddock bought in Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow and found that seven of them were whiting. The Which? study is not the first time that fraud has been exposed in the seafood industry. Last year, marine protection group, Oceana, published research showing that a third of fish in supermarkets, shops and restaurants in the U.S. was wrongly labelled.

2013 UK Sea Fisheries statistics

Marine Management Organisation: 25th September 2014

Marine Management Organisation (MMO) published its annual UK Sea Fisheries Statistics 2013 report today. Available at, the report includes detailed figures on the UK fishing fleet, the number of fishermen, the quantity and value of landings, international trade and the state of key fishing stocks. The report highlights that in 2013:

MMO Acting Chief Executive, Andy Beattie, said:

"We are pleased to see that demersal species have increased to the highest level seen for more than a decade. Landings of pelagic species have fallen slightly, but we continue to work closely with fishermen to help keep fisheries open for as long as possible, while ensuring stocks are maintained for the future."

Cod moves in mysterious ways

By Dave Chamberlain

On the first day of the new year, Tuesday 1st January, 1963, there was a strong easterly wind blowing … and by the next morning it had started to snow. This was to herald the beginning of one of the coldest winters that Kent would ever witness. The sea temperature plummeted to a state where the sea alongshore started to freeze over. When the sea conditions get that cold the fish move out into deeper water, where the coldness does not penetrate.

During those bitter conditions many hardy sea anglers continued to fish from the beach, pier and boats; but to no avail. There were no signs of life, and their rod tips remained static with the wet line freezing on the reels. Even the common lugworm was not available for bait, as it had burrowed down too deep for the bait diggers to find. It would not be until March of that year before any fish were caught, and they consisted of a few dabs and flounders from the shore.

Eventually the fish famine was forgotten as in the autumn of 1963 vast quantities of cod had arrived off the coast of Deal. The results of the local club boat fishing festival recorded a total weight of over two tons which the anglers brought to the scales to be weighed. The town, once again, became the Mecca of sea angling.

The author with a cod he caught in 1977 Reg Worsley with a 29 lb cod he caught in 1984 Deal Council fishing guide

Throughout the following years, the size of cod being caught got larger and the national record was almost beaten with a 50 lb 14 oz cod landed by Brian Maidment from a boat in 1972. Brian was a local boatman and gained fame when his photograph featured on the front page of Deal Council's fishing guide the following year. The Council had a plaster cast made of his fish, which was displayed in the café at the end of Deal Pier. This replica was sadly lost when the café on the pier was rebuilt and part of Deal's piscatorial history disappeared. (Editor's note: a photograph of Brian Maidment with his monster cod adorns the cover of Deal Council's 1973 fishing guide - see image on the right above).

The next decade saw countless cod being caught, although the larger fish seemed to become harder to find. Nevertheless, many excellent fish in the 20 to 30 lb size were still captured until the species became scarce at the start of the third millennium.

Numerous anglers accused commercial overfishing for the decline but, as can be seen, the weather and sea temperature is also a governing factor. Cod do move in mysterious ways and each winter anglers get ready for the cod season with anticipation; unfortunately, recent years have been a disappointment. However, all is not lost, as last year saw a revival of small codling caught from Deal and the anglers' ever enthusiastic optimism have great hopes for the coming season.

Will the cod make a return to the beach, pier and boats off Deal? Who knows … only time will tell. Nevertheless, there will still be keen anglers casting a line and braving the cold winter weather in anticipation.

Editor's note: for almost fifty years David Chamberlain has been searching the sea off Deal and Walmer for fish and shipwrecks. As a full time professional boatman he took anglers to the best fishing marks in and around the Goodwin Sands. Prior to retirement, he was popular with fishing parties in his boat Morning Haze and, over the years, has helped many an angler catch their fish of a lifetime.

This knowledge also helped him to identify the whereabouts of the many sunken wrecks, which litter the sea bed in one of the world's most dangerous waters. Since man first took to the sea in boats, the English Channel has claimed not only their vessels - but also their lives. This understanding, along with his profession, has seen David being included in various underwater archaeological expeditions to historical shipwrecks.

From his experiences and research, David has written six books on the subject of local shipwrecks which abound off the coast of Deal and the Goodwin Sands. With an estimated 2,000 shipwrecks in this area there have been many facts that have elapsed; and stories of heroism from the crews of the lifeboats in the saving of lives. In his books he brought to life those moments that have been forgotten and has revived an interest in the town's past history.

His research has dispelled a myth that had been circulating Deal since the 1700s, that the boatmen were savages and only there to loot wrecks at the cost of human lives. The 'Great Storm' of 1703 saw many ships lost at anchor in the Downs, four of them being Men-of-War from Queen Ann's Navy. From the archives of the Public Record Office he found out that it was Daniel Defoe who spread these malicious lies and defamed Deal and its townsfolk. This research has positively proved that this myth was a pack of lies in respect of which the then Mayor, Thomas Powell, wanted to sue Defoe for slander.

David Chamberlain's main passion has been angling which he first pursued when he was five years old. Although, now in his seventies, he still participates once a week from the beach and occasionally the boat. His latest book is about the sport and the importance and history it has had in the town and parish of Deal and Walmer. Over the years he became friendly with the late local newspaper photographer, Basil Kidd, who would take photographs of the large fish for which Deal was famous, filling the sports pages of the East Kent Mercury and national fishing papers.

It was for these professional photographs that David secured permission to use for his latest book, Deal and Walmer's Piscatorial Past. This book provides an insight into the glorious days of catches of large cod, conger eels, spurdog, thornback rays and bass that were plentiful in the past. The 60 black and white professional illustrations show the excellence of sport that was to be had; and David's dialogue, at times amusing, tells of the anglers' exploits and his life as a Deal boatman.

David Chamberlain and his book Deal and Walmer's Piscatorial Past.

David's Book, ISBN 978-0-9548439-4-6, is published by Beaches Books and is available for £4.99 on Amazon, eBay, Pleasure Angling and Channel Angling.

Fish versus terrapin

21 September 2014

Danish fishmongers cod red-handed

19 September 2014

Marine conservation organisation, Oceana, has revealed high lebels of seafood fraud amongst fishmongers in Denmark. Together with the Danish newspaper Søndagsavisen and the TV program Go'Aften Denmark, Oceana conducted a study revealing that 18% of cod sold in fishmongers is not actually cod, but haddock or saithe. In total, 120 samples were collected from fishmongers, supermarkets and restaurants in the wider Copenhagen region in order to undergo DNA analysis.

This study is remarkable in that it indicates high levels of fraud among fishmongers, showing that there are gaps in the traceability system and chain of custody in Denmark. Previous studies carried out in several other European countries have shown both higher (32% in Italy, 30% of all hake in Spain and 19% of cod in Ireland) and lower (France 3.5% and the UK 6%) fraud than in the study conducted in Copenhagen.

"Seafood fraud is an extensive practice throughout Europe due to weaknesses in the current traceability systems for fish, and low levels of control checks from authorities responsible for the appropriate labelling of seafood", says Maria Jose Cornax, Fisheries Campaigns manager for Oceana in Europe. "This fact not only represents a mockery to consumers but also undermines worldwide conservation efforts by creating a black hole in the market where illegal catches are sold."

Although haddock and saithe are closely related to cod, it is still fraudulent to sell these species as cod to the consumer. These two species tend to be cheaper than cod, therefore resulting in monetary loss for the consumer. The lack of traceability in fisheries is a big problem for consumers as the current labelling system often makes it difficult to know where and how the fish were caught. Looking at cod for example, in some waters it can be found in great abundance whereas in other areas such as the North Sea, it is in very poor condition.

"It is unfortunate that Danish consumers are being misled into believing that they are buying cod, when in many cases they are instead paying overprice for either haddock or saithe. Consumers should not only have the right to know what species of fish they buy, but also how and in what area it is being caught in order to be able to make eco-friendly choices," states Hanna Paulomäki, Project Manager at Oceana's Baltic Sea Office.

Sea Fishing: Alan Yates' September Diary

17 September 2014

Check out Alan Yates' excellent "diary offering" for September.

Deeper®: the smart fish finder gadget and app

17 September 2014

For anglers with tablets or smart phones a new, innovative sonar fishing gadget, Deeper® is available. The Deeper® sonar and interactive display will make any Android or Apple smart phone or tablet user a smart fisherman by finding the perfect spot and time to catch fish. Take a picture and share your big catch with the Deeper social network application.

"You don't have to be a professional fisherman or an IT geek, anyone can use and enjoy Deeper" says Rolandas Sereika, Deeper® Chief Marketing Officer. "Our goal was to make fish finding technology convenient, easy, and affordable. We studied fish finding technology used on large boats and saw a need for a small device that could be used for fishing off a dock, in a kayak, or anywhere else."

You can think of it as your GPS for fish locating, except smarter. The Deeper® gadget is a lightweight little black ball, so small it can be used where bigger fish finders are impractical, that can be cast from the shore, bridges, embankments, and docks - or even dropped under the ice. Deeper® works where bulkier devices don't - on kayaks, float tubes, and even little radio-controlled boats. Deeper® is also useful for activities other than fishing, where measuring accurate water depth and temperature is important. Scuba divers can use it for safe immersion, and parents to make sure their kids are safe and comfortable swimming in a pond or a kiddie pool.

The Deeper® app is free while the Deeper® gadget costs £149.95 and is small - just 65mm in diameter and weighing only 100 grams - designed to fit into any tackle box or fishing vest. Deeper® packs plenty of power though - 4 hours.

Angling Trust Survey

Angling Trust: Monday, 15th September 2014

Anglers from right across the country are being urged to make their views known on the issues that matter to them and their fisheries via an online survey that will run through September and October.

The Angling Trust & Fish Legal were launched just over five years ago and the organisations are seeking the latest views from their members and non-members alike to find out what anglers want to see happen.

The Angling Trust runs campaigns, and Fish Legal takes legal action, to fight numerous threats to fish stocks such as poaching, predation, pollution, habitat damage and over-abstraction. The unified organisation also promotes the benefits of angling to society and protects anglers' rights to go fishing. The Trust also has a wide range of programmes to get more people fishing more often and manages a growing calendar of national and international competitions. The survey is intended to identify the top priorities for the angling community to back up its campaigns and legal action.

Over the past five years the Angling Trust has been very successful recruiting clubs as members, and now has over 1,600 clubs and fisheries in membership, along with more than 100 trade members, but it has only recruited 17,500 individual anglers. This is a small fraction of the large angling population and so the Angling Trust is asking anglers from all disciplines to let them know what else it can do, and what benefits it can offer, to persuade a larger number of individuals to support its work with an annual subscription of £25.

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust & Fish Legal said:

"This angling survey is an important opportunity for anglers to give us their views not only about the work of their representative body but also on any issues that they feel are important to the future of angling. This might include worries about declining fish stocks, threats to anglers' rights and the lack of young people coming into our sport. We will publish the results of the survey in November and will use it to prioritise our campaigns, and Fish Legal's legal work, over the coming year. I urge everyone who cares about the future of fishing to get involved and have their say - it only takes 10 minutes."

Link to the survey

Saltwater Species Hunt Challenge

Angling Trust: Thursday, 29th August 2014

ATTENTION ALL SEA ANGLERS: A brand new fun fishing competition has been launched this month.

The Saltwater Species Hunt Challenge has been developed to encourage you to go fishing more often and try and catch as many different saltwater fish species as you can. That's not all - there is also a competition to catch the largest fish possible in the Specimen Hunt part of the challenge. Both Challenges are FREE to enter and will be offering monthly prizes! They are backed by the Angling Trust, Tronix Pro, Breakaway Tackle and the brand new Sea Fishing Magazine.

The Saltwater Species Hunt Challenge is the brainchild of Simon Farrow and Angling Trust Head of Participation, Clive Copeland and has been developed to:

Best of luck and tight lines. We look forward to seeing what you catch!

Register Now! To register for the challenges and to receive your free welcome pack, please send an email with your name as the subject to and please include the following information:

Angling Trust warns government to act on bass

Sea Fishing Magazine: Thursday, 28th August 2014

The International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) recently recommended a staggering 80% cut in catches of bass in order to protect the future of the species. In the face of this scientific advice, the Angling Trust has written to George Eustice, the UK's fisheries minister, to ask him to introduce conservation measures to protect UK bass stocks. The Trust claim that failure to take immediate action to protect dwindling bass stocks would deal a "fatal blow" to the credibility of both the UK government and the EU in managing commonly-owned sea fisheries resources.

The conservation measures proposed by the Angling Trust include:

David Mitchell, marine campaigns manager for the Angling Trust said:

"Failure to act now will see the spawning stock of bass further reduced to a level where a total moratorium on bass fishing in Europe may be the only way to let the species recover. This would have a devastating impact on local communities who rely on bass fishing and for whom bass represents an iconic natural asset. Given the warnings that recreational anglers and scientists have been giving for many years now, which the Government has repeatedly ignored, the collapse of bass stocks would be a devastating indictment of the Government's failure to manage our sea fisheries in the public interest. We need to act now at both EU and UK levels if bass stocks are going to be given a chance to recover."

Last year, scientific advice from ICES recommended a 36% cut in catches for 2014 - something that was never implemented by policy makers or fisheries managers and which has now lead to the drastic recommendation for an 80% cut in catches. The Trust has also written to the director general and commissioner for fisheries and maritime affairs at the EU calling on him them both to focus on the implementation of emergency measures to protect bass stocks as a matter of urgency.

The next meeting of the Kent & Essex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) will be held at 10am on Thursday, 4th September 2014 at Whitstable Castle in Kent. One of the important items on the agenda will focus on how the authority should respond to the problems now being recognised with regard to bass. This is a chance for local sea anglers to go along to the meeting to find out more, and perhaps to make a representation from the public gallery. You can also write to the IFCA with any views you may have and ask that your correspondence be put in front of the authority members. The following meeting will be held on Friday, 21st November at the Council Chamber, Gravesham Council Offices, Gravesend, Kent.

British Open: Sunday, 12th October 2014

Saul Page

Goliath grouper eats hooked shark

England angler Saul Page in top form

East Kent Mercury: Thursday, 21st August 2014

England international Saul Page from Deal is running into form at the right time, writes Alan Yates. Saul won an open sea angling competition fished at Chesil Beach last weekend, organised by the Weymouth Sea Angling Club. He weighed in 17 lb 4 oz beating second-placed David Davies of Weymouth who recorded 16 lb 5 oz. At the end of next month Saul heads to France to compete in the World Shore Angling Championships.

Nearer home, angling from the shore is looking up with more codling coming from local marks, although they are small with few beating the 2 lb mark. Many are under the 35 cm minimum size limit so these should be returned to the water.

Eels are also featuring in beach catches. They are a protected species and it looks like the ban on their commercial capture is having an effect. All eels caught must be returned alive.

The best fish reported was a bass of 8 lb for Dover's Paul Collingwood, who was fishing from a rock mark at St. Margaret's Bay near Dover. He hooked the fish using a spinning rod, 20 lb breaking strain braid line and a Savage lead head lure. It's a good size for a lure and could signal the start of the run of bigger bass that move through the Channel at this time of year.

Angler hooks medal after first call-up for England

East Kent Mercury: Thursday, 14th August 2014

Charity Fishing Match: Sunday, 28th September 2014

Warren Hayes

Schoolboy drains pond looking for his mobile phone

Metro: Saturday, 2nd August 2014

There are people who definitely are a bit too attached to their smartphone, but this determined German schoolboy is in another league entirely. A boy enjoying a fishing trip with a group of friends accidentally dropped his iPhone over the side of the boat - so he decided to drain the entire pond. The 16-year-old took matters into his own hands after the angling club refused to let him use his diving suit to retrieve the device, sneaking back later that night armed with a powerful pump and two hoses.

"I thought two pumps would drain enough of the water from the pond so I could find my cellphone," he told his local paper in Cologne. "I knew the phone was probably dead but wanted to get the data card back with the numbers, pictures and videos of my friends."

The youngster thought that if he directed the water into the angling club toilet he may get away with his plan - but he failed to notice that the toilet wasn't attached to a sewage system. When the owner arrived to a flooded car park he quickly found the cause and called police. The boy was ordered to pay for the damage for the toilet, the clean-up operation and the water to refill the pond. And though he didn't recover his phone, he was unapologetic.

"It almost worked," he insisted.

Gurnard and chips, please …

Guardian: Saturday, 2nd August 2014

Cod and chips could soon become a dish of the past, as Britain's waters become ever warmer. Marine experts have warned that rising sea temperatures are transforming the makeup of fish stocks in our coastal waters. Where cod and haddock once thrived, bass, hake, red mullet and anchovies are now being caught in rising numbers. If Britain wants sustainable fisheries round its shores, it will have to turn to these for the fish suppers of the future, they add.

"We are going to have to be much more flexible about the fish we eat as our coastal waters continue to warm," said Professor Richard Lampitt of the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton. "The idea that the cod is the only fish worth eating is part of a mindset that we can no longer support."

Marine scientists have found that the seas round the UK have risen in temperature by a remarkable 1.6°C since 1980, a jump that is almost four times the global average rise for ocean temperatures. Britain's position on the relatively shallow continental shelf of Europe, and the enclosed nature of our seas - the North and Irish seas and the Channel - have intensified the impact of global warming. As a result, our waters are now attracting more and more unexpected visitors, including dolphins and a pair of humpback whales - a rarity for UK waters - that were seen in the Irish Sea last month. Other changes have been even more profound.

"Over the last 35 years, 15 of the 36 species surveyed in the North Sea have shifted latitudes," said oceanographer Professor Callum Roberts of York University. "The average shift was 300km north."

Cold-loving fish have moved north towards Iceland and the Faroe Isles while warm-water fish have moved up from the south to take their place, added Roberts. Cod is now hardly found in our waters, for example, while the John Dory, a narrow-bodied fish with a long, thin jaw that was once found only near the south-west tip of England, has colonised the North Sea as far as Scotland.

"The trouble is that our national appetite for fish is still monopolised by the 'big five': cod, haddock, tuna, prawns and salmon," said Professor Stephen Simpson of Exeter University. "But very few of these are caught in our waters. So we have to import them - cod from Iceland, tuna from the tropics, for example - or they are grown on fish farms, like the salmon. Only haddock survives in some northern UK waters."

At the same time, however, stocks of gurnard, bass, John Dory, ling, hake, sardines and other fish are spreading from the south into British coastal waters.

"Unfortunately, UK fishermen who are bringing them in cannot find any market for their catches in the UK. As a result they having to sell them to Spain and other European countries," said Simpson. "We should be eating these fish. They come from our waters today and if we ate them instead of cod we would no longer have to import so much fish. But we won't do that until we change our attitudes to the fish we eat in Britain. We are out of date. It is as simple as that."

Next month, a conference, Sustainable Fisheries in 2050, is to be held in London. Scientists, fishing industry representatives, supermarket executives, consumer groups and conservationists will discuss ways to market Britain's new generation of fish stocks, to try to make them as popular as cod and haddock were in the past. "It is a tricky task but I am optimistic we can do that," said Simpson.

Problems lie ahead, however, an example being provided by the mackerel. Until recently, it was rated one of the sustainably caught fish in the North Sea with quotas having been agreed and established by the EU and Norway. Then the mackerel started to move north as seas warmed and stocks reached Iceland and the Faroe Isles. Their fleets started fishing the mackerel in vast numbers. The result was a major dispute with the EU and Norway: the so-called mackerel wars, which have yet to be resolved and which have seen UK ports blockaded so that Faroese and Icelandic fishing boats could not land there. "There will be lots more cases like this as the sea warms," said Roberts.

In addition, the impact of warming waters is hitting stocks and environments already battered by overfishing. For decades, trawlermen have dragged vast, 30-tonne nets with metal doors and chains over much of Britain's coastal waters, in an attempt to catch every cod and haddock they could find. Seabeds in places such as the Firth of Clyde have been ripped up and left utterly barren.

"Three-dimensional, complex habitats rich in coral, sponge and sea fan have been turned into endless monotonous expanses of shifting gravel, sand and mud," said Roberts. "Species that are now shifting their ranges north into these impoverished ecosystems will find very little to sustain them."

Cod is one of the big five seafood dishes that dominate our diet in the UK, along with tuna, prawns, haddock and salmon. Most are either imported or farmed or both. If Britain is to maintain sustainable fisheries in its own coastal waters and avoid importing foreign fish then we need to stop eating these forms of seafood, say experts. The herring is one of the winners in the change in UK seas. It is common, rich in healthy oils and has a lifestyle that lends itself to sustainable fishing. The red gurnard is also thriving, spreading northwards into waters once dominated by the cod, while the Cornish sardine is also making a comeback. All three are recommended by researchers.

British caviar comes on stream

Wednesday, 30th July 2014

Caviar from sturgeon farmed in Devon in the south west of England, will be produced again in the autumn. This will be only the second production season, as the company behind the operation, Exmoor Caviar, was set up less than four years ago and was officially registered in November 2012.

Unlike almost all fish processing in the developed world, the method used for producing caviar - the unfertilized eggs of female sturgeon which are treated (cured) with salt - hasn't changed during the past 100 years. Different methods are used for extracting the eggs, from the straightforward killing of the fish, to extracting the eggs surgically while leaving the fish alive, and a process called 'stripping' which sources say involves making a small incision along the urogenital muscle when the fish is deemed ready to be processed.

Exmoor Caviar kills its fish humanely and uses as much of the sturgeon for human consumption as possible. For example sturgeon fillets are smoked by Pinneys of Orford on the Suffolk coast. Once the ovaries have been extracted, the eggs are passed over a sieve of plastic mesh to remove the roesack and fatty membrane then washed in cold water. Any remaining fragments of fatty tissue are painstakingly removed using tweezers. The eggs are then treated with Cornish or Hebridean sea salt and chilled for up to three weeks at minus 1 degree C before the caviar is shipped to London packed in 1.1kg or 1.8kg tins. There it is repacked to order in vacuum tins.

"The Cornish salt is a very wet salt and makes for quite a soft egg. The Hebridean salt is drier, so makes for a more robust taste." says Exmoor Caviar CEO Kenneth Benning.

Each 10kg sturgeon produces about 1kg of caviar.

"We process eight to 10 fish per day, which is not a massive amount compared with other producers," says Patrick Noble, company chairman.

It is a very valuable product though: 250g of Exmoor caviar costs just under £500, although established brands of imported caviar are more, often much more, expensive.

Exmoor Caviar is currently producing caviar from Siberian sturgeon (Acipenser baerii), although there are other sturgeon species at the farm, where 20,000 to 30,000 fish are stocked in giant freshwater tanks. These include sterlet, beluga, Russian (oscietra) and sevruga. It takes 8-10 years for the females to become mature and produce the eggs which form the caviar. Last season the company produced about half a ton of caviar which was sold to restaurants and online, and the well-known retailer, Selfridges of London, is now stocking it.

This coming season Exmoor Caviar is aiming to double production and to increase it still further in the future. Says Kenneth Benning:

"We plan to target a few key contracts while continuing to supply to restaurants and retailers."

Exmoor Caviar is the first company to farm sturgeon in the UK to produce caviar. The company was established in 2010 by Kenneth Benning and father and son cold water ornamental fish farmers Patrick and George Noble. Kenneth Benning had experience of importing and selling caviar in the UK, and the Nobles had been farming sturgeon in freshwater tanks in north Devon since 1994.

Royal Marines on RM350 1664 challenge visit Deal

Monday, 21st July 2014

In 2014 the Corps of Her Majesty's Royal Marines celebrate their 350th anniversary. To commemorate this event, six Royal Marines Commandos will ski, sail, cycle, canoe and run 6,656 km (circa 4,136 miles). The twofold aim of this remarkable challenge is to encapsulate the Commando spirit and Corps values in a significant physical and mental challenge and to inform people of the three-and-a-half centuries of unbroken service in protecting and promoting the nation's security, prosperity and reputation, both at home and overseas.

Six Royal Marine Commandos taking part in this extraordinary challenge will visit Deal on Monday and, at 3.30pm, they will march along The Strand in Walmer into Deal Castle in Marine Road escorted by other runners from the Royal Marines Band Service and led by the Band of HM Royal Marines Portsmouth.

In February, they skied for 1,664 km across Norway, then sailed in yachts for 1,664 km to Cadiz, Spain, whereupon they disembarked the yachts and hopped on bikes to cycle for 1,664 km through Spain and France until they reached the English Channel. At this point the same six Commandos boarded kayaks and crossed the water in 64 hours, arriving in the UK on Saturday, 22nd March. Since then they have been running approximately 20 miles a day and will continue to do so until Friday, 25th July when they reach 1,664 km in London. It is also hoped to raise a considerable sum of money for the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund. Major Richard Long said:

"It should be a really good event. The six outstanding Royal Marines who have been travelling by ski, boat, bike, canoe and foot since February, will be arriving at this famous former home of the Royal Marines and look forward to seeing the many people who come out to cheer them on."

For further information contact Major Richard Long (07794 672605) and visit the Royal Marines 1664 Challenge website.

To view a report of this event visit Kent Online.<.

Channel Kayak Challengea>

Sunday, 20th July 2014

During July and August 2014, David Herriott, Ian Emmerson, James Tritton and Harvey Moon (David's dog) will be taking part in three kayaking challenges in the English Channel covering a total of 70 miles. The purpose of the challenge is to raise £5,000 (or more) for the RNLI. This blog details the background to the challenge, the training "regime" and each of the three challenges as they occur. The challenges are:

  1. Sunday, 20th July: Round trip Deal - Goodwin Sands - Deal (14 miles)
  2. Sunday, 27th July: Round trip Deal - Dover Harbour - Ramsgate Harbour - Deal (30 miles)
  3. Sunday, (tba) August: English Channel (27 miles)

As part of this fund-raising effort, a horse racing night (£5 per ticket) will be held on Saturday, 4th October at Deal Welfare Club, Cowdray Square, Deal CT14 9EU (01304 374335) with live music provided by Gentlemen of Few.

The 14 mile round trip Deal - Goodwin Sands - Deal has raised £2,162. The 30 mile second leg (Deal - Dover Harbour - Ramsgate Harbour - Deal) starts this Sunday at 08:30. If you have any questions regarding this challenge call Dean at 01304 239191. Pleasure Angling (95 Beach Street) is a sponsor of this fund-raising effort.

Proxigean Tide

Sunday, 10th August 2014

A proxigean spring tide is a rare, extreme form of spring tide which occurs once every 18 months or so when the moon is at its closest point in its orbit to the Earth and in its new or full moon phase. This produces a 25% increase in the tide. The next proxigean spring tide occurs on Sunday, 10th August (full moon) with "very high tides" showing from Monday to Thursday. So why not bring the wife and kids to Deal for a week-long, fishtastic "staycation" … it's cheaper than Florida and the beer's better. When you arrive, remember to put your watch back 50 years …

Sunday, 10th August Low Tide: 06:19 (1.00m) High Tide: 11:36 (6.30m) Low Tide: 18:54 (0.80m)  
Monday, 11th August High Tide: 00:01 (6.30m) Low Tide: 07:15 (0.80m) High Tide: 12:20 (6.50m) Low Tide: 19:51 (0.60m)
Tuesday, 12th August High Tide: 00:45 (6.50m) Low Tide: 08:08 (0.70m) High Tide: 13:04 (6.70m) Low Tide: 20:42 (0.40m)
Wednesday, 13th August High Tide: 01:29 (6.50m) Low Tide: 08:56 (0.70m) High Tide: 13:48 (6.70m) Low Tide: 21:28 (0.40m)

If you miss this one, the next proxigean tide will be on Monday, 28th September 2015 (full moon) and the next "blue moon" (the second full moon in any month in which there are two full moons) will be at 11:46 BST on Friday, 31st July 2015.

The moon will be at its brightest for 20 years on Sunday as it reaches the point in its orbit closest to the Earth - known as perigee - at the same time as it is full. Perigee will occur just 26 minutes before the moon officially reaches its full phase at 19.10 BST on Sunday, 10th August. The two phenomena will not occur so close together again until 2034 - potentially making Sunday's supermoon the biggest and brightest of the next 20 years.

Two days later, the Perseid meteor shower will reach its peak, producing "fireballs as bright as Jupiter or Venus". However, the lunar glare from the supermoon could make the meteor shower difficult to see. But all is not lost as the debris stream left by comet Swift-Tuttle, which produces the Perseids, is wide, so the shooting stars could make an appearance well before the moon becomes full. The best time to see the meteors is between Sunday and Wednesday, with activity peaking on Tuesday. Given a dark, clear sky you can expect to see more than 100 of the meteors an hour.

You can minimise the effect of the lunar glare by observing with your back to the moon - possibly viewing the Cassiopeia/Cepheus/Ursa Minor area. If possible, keep the moon hidden behind trees or a nearby building. At this time of year the moon is relatively close to the horizon, leaving much of the sky dark. Look at an area of sky 20 to 30 degrees away from the Perseid radiant (the spot near the constellation of Perseus from which the meteors appear to fly).

Supermoons occur relatively often, on average every 13 months and 18 days. At perigee, the moon is about 31,000 miles closer than when it is furthest away from the Earth, and it will be up to 14% bigger and 30% brighter than at other full moons during the year.

Date Sunrise Sunset Moonrise Moonset
Sunday, 10th August 05:37 20:21 18:52 04:11
Monday, 11th August 05:39 20:19 19:26 05:33
Tuesday, 12th August 05:40 20:17 19:56 06:55
Wednesday, 13th August 05:42 20:15 20:25 08:16

Deal, Walmer & Kingsdown Carnival and Regatta Week

Saturday July 26th to Thursday July 31st 2014

East Kent Mercury reports (report and pictures):

"Town comes out in force to watch Deal carnival process from The Strand, Deal. Fabulous floats, fancy dress, dancing troupes and marching bands reminded us last night why Deal carnival is probably the best in Kent."

The annual spectacular was organised by John Trickey, chairman of Deal, Walmer and Kingsdown Regatta Association.

Saturday July 26th:

Sunday July 27th on Deal Seafront:

Wednesday July 30th:

Thursday July 31st: Deal, Walmer and Kingsdown Carnival Procession, The Strand, Walmer and Deal Seafront, from 7pm. Route: The Strand, Deal Castle Road, the seafront and promenade to Godwyn Road (report and pictures).


Wednesday, 16th July 2014 2014

Nine of the controversial beach huts on Walmer seafront were removed on Saturday. The district council agreed to move some of the beach huts after residents protested against the cluttered layout. On Saturday morning they were moved to a temporary storage area, and the council will now decide where they will go. The move comes after many people have spoken out over the 'cluttered' appearance of the 'eyesore' beach huts.

Joanna Thomson, who runs the Coast House bed and breakfast, organised a petition for more huts to be removed, which has gained 518 signatures. On Friday she handed this to Dover District Council (DDC) chief executive Nadeem Aziz. She said:

"Moving nine huts just before the Royal Marines concert was a good move, but public opinion is that it was a gesture, not a result. The whole issue of whether there should be huts there at all comes into question. If there must, their density and design must be in keeping with the environment of a working or ex-working beach. We just feel DDC hasn't consulted the local community at all on this project. A public consultation would be the way ahead, which has clearly been ignored thus far."

Mrs Thomson said DDC building control manager Martin Leggatt had been very helpful and had answered every complaint individually. The campaign will continue next week with a site meeting held on Monday with Mr Leggatt. It is hoped the meeting will result in another four huts being removed. Campaigners also hope the rest of the huts will be spaced out along the seafront so that they are not too close to the Downs Sailing Club and each has a sea view.

A DDC spokesman later denied that the Council will be setting up a confidential hutline for pro-hut residents traumatised by the sight of the "Walmer nine" being removed from the beach.

Walmer Popular Front (denies being "hutist" … but believes there should be tighter controls on foreign huts)

Foreign fishing rights

Tuesday, 15th July 2014

At a parliamentary meeting on Monday, twelve UK MPs agreed to back a call for the rights of foreign vessels to fish in UK coastal waters to be revoked and reclaimed for the use of low impact, local fishermen.

Many European member states currently have significant historic rights to fish in the waters that are 6-12 nautical miles from the UK's coastline. The MPs are concerned that this is having a serious impact on the marine environment, and further threatens the survival of low impact, coastal fishermen and the fish stocks they depend on. In the UK, depleted stocks are struggling to recover from overfishing and international fisheries scientists estimate that 41% of stocks are still overfished in the Atlantic and surrounding seas. Consequently fishermen have faced a steady decline in their catches. In 2009 the UK fishing fleet landed the lowest haul since records began.

Twelve MPs have signed up to a five-step plan aimed at regenerating the UK's inshore waters, fisheries and coastal communities through quota redistribution; regionalisation of fisheries management and reclaiming coastal waters for small scale fishermen. The plan was jointly launched by the New Under Ten Fishermen's Association (NUTFA) and Greenpeace. They are campaigning for the government to implement the policies in the reformed Common Fisheries Policy which reward fishermen who use more selective, low-impact fishing methods, and who maximise social and employment benefits for local communities.

Jerry Percy, Chief Executive of NUTFA said:

"Once busy and thriving, many coastal fishing communities have crumbled, fishing harbours turned into yacht parks and fishing beaches that are no longer home to fishing boats. This is the reality for much of modern coastal England. But there is hope. Hope in new legislation sensibly implemented, hope in the realisation that smaller scale fishermen are not the problem but a solution to many of the challenges facing us and hope that politicians will recognise the wealth that has been lost, but is there to be regained in terms of jobs, fish stocks and reinvigorated communities."

Fish farm sea lice out of control

Tuesday, 15th July 2014

The Salmon & Trout Association (Scotland) (SATA) is calling for decisive action as fish farm sea lice remain out of control for the approaching migration season. The latest aggregated sea lice data, published by the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO), shows that in the first quarter of 2014, sea lice numbers on farmed salmon were still out of control in a number of regions.

Worryingly, the second quarter of every year is when the main migrations to sea of juvenile wild salmon and sea-trout occur. During this period they are at their most vulnerable to damaging and often fatal infestations of sea lice emanating from fish farms. The Q1 SSPO sea lice report reveals that average lice numbers were often well over thresholds in 14 out of 30 regions for which data is reported by the industry.

Hugh Campbell Adamson, chairman of SATA said:

"In Norway, the fish farmers have been read the riot act over lice. In Scotland, they have been invited to trade dinners and cosy chats. All the assurances and promises made in recent months by the Minister, for example during the passage of the Aquaculture and Fisheries Act through Holyrood, ring rather hollow.

There are regions of Scotland where the fish-farmers demonstrably cannot control sea-lice on farmed fish. The industry also includes serial offenders, who seem either unwilling or incapable of controlling their sea lice but, collectively, the industry does not seem prepared to deal with its own 'bad apples'.

"In both cases, the minister must now act. For him to say that he is keeping the situation 'under review' is no longer credible. He should direct Scottish regulators to require prolonged fallowing of entire regions where sea lice are out of control (and not just the odd farm for a few weeks). Then there should be a thorough examination of whether fish-farming can continue in these regions. Given the particularly appalling track record in Loch Broom and Little Loch Broom, the SATA is already very clear that we should now stop current farming fish in Two Brooms completely."

Guy Linley-Adams, solicitor to the SATA Aquaculture Campaign, said:

"What is very concerning is that each new set of data suggests increased sea lice resistance to the cocktail of drugs used to control sea-lice. It also seems in some regions the use of wrasse as 'miracle' cleaner fish has been rather over-hyped. We would ask ministers again to consider ordering a cull of all the fish in the very worst affected regions - for example, between Kinlochbervie and Gruinard Bay. This is the kind of decisive action taken by the Norwegian authorities when they were faced with a similar problem. This should then be followed by the fallowing of these farms until such time as a proven solution is identified. The question is whether ministers are prepared to provide any protection whatsoever for wild salmon and sea-trout in the worst affected regions, or whether they will continue to protect the salmon farmers, come what may."

Paul Knight, SATA CEO and co-chair of the NGOs attending the 31st Annual Meeting of the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO), added:

"There is little doubt that Scotland is out on a limb amongst its NASCO colleagues by failing to protect wild salmon and sea trout from the dangers of poorly operated aquaculture."

Salmon louse (Lepeophtheirus salmonis)

Fishing pressure taking heavy toll on English Channel

Monday, 14th July 2014

Decades of overfishing in the English Channel have led to the removal of many top predators from the sea and left fishermen 'scraping the barrel' for increasing amounts of shellfish to make up their catch, according to new research. Marine biologists at Plymouth University and the international non-profit research organization WorldFish conducted analyses of catches over the past 90 years and found significant evidence of the practice of 'fishing down the food web'. Sharks, rays, cod, haddock and many other species at the head of the food chain are at historic lows with many removed from the area completely, they say.

The report used catch statistics from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) to establish a 'mean trophic level' for catches - an average for how far up the food chain the fish are located. Professor Jason Hall Spencer, of the School of Marine Science and Engineering, and the Marine Institute, said:

"It is clear from our analyses that fishing pressure has caused significant changes to food webs of the English Channel over the past 90 years. The mean Trophic Level of English Channel landings has fallen by 0.1 unit per decade, one of the fastest rates reported among other heavily fished regions of the world, providing yet more evidence that 'fishing down food webs' is a worldwide phenomenon."

Today, the UK and France land around 150,000 tonnes of seabed fish and shellfish per year from the 75,000 km2 Channel - a huge increase from the 9,000 tonnes recorded in 1920 and the 51,000 tonnes in 1950. During that time, the composition of landings has altered dramatically, with sharks and rays declining from 34% of catch in 1920 to 6% in 2010. The contribution of 'cod, haddock and hake' similarly fell from 48% to just 4% over the same time frame.

Spurdogs, tope, thornback rays, cod, ling and hake show the most remarkable decline, while flounders, halibut and soles have changed relatively little during the time-series.

The falling levels of finfish has been counter-balanced by increased landings of shellfish such as scallops, and of squid, octopus and cuttlefish. This has in turn raised concerns over long-term sustainability, and the potential damage done to the marine environment as a result of dredging and trawling for these invertebrates.

Plymouth researcher Carlotta Molfese said:

"Fisheries typically remove top predators first and as a result their direct competitors and prey are able to prosper, affecting the overall productivity and ecological stability of the ecosystem. Severe declines in the populations of major predator species have now been reported around the world."

The researchers say that, far from being a modern phenomenon, overfishing can be traced as far back as the 19th century, with declining stocks reported in 1863. But geographic expansion into new fishing grounds and improved technology combined to maintain increased landings. Hall-Spencer added:

"All around the UK we are scraping the barrel, destructively dredging the seabed for scallops and prawns as fish have disappeared. When destructive fishing practices are banned, marine life soon recovers. So we urgently need a network of recovery zones in the English Channel to allow marine life to bounce back."

Burger Brothers voted 5th in top ten burger restaurants poll

Thursday, 3rd July 2014

The Burger Brothers in Deal - based at the Deal Hoy, Duke Street since 2012 - have been named 5th in the top ten burger restaurants by customers voting on TripAdvisor. The number one spot was taken by Burger Brothers, Brighton. The owners of the small, independent company which sets up camp in the beer garden of the Deal Hoy have been celebrating with head chef David Perkins. Owner Karl Wozny said:

"It's a nice accolade from the customers, it's lovely to know we're highly rated. It started off as a small kitchenette out the back, it's a little shack, it's small and simple but that works."

Mr Wozny explained that the beef and buns are locally sourced and he believes the secret to great burgers is the quality ingredients. He added:

"We get our beef from an award winning butcher and the buns are all made to our specification. They make it for me just the way I like it and it's all about the quality of the product; and it's always consistent with really good toppings."

The burger company scored 4.5 out of 5 from 100 reviews in the TripAdvisor poll. The site says:

"This nautical back street pub in Deal gives a nod to the American diner with classic burgers made with fresh local Kent beef. Diners here can sample the 'Brother from Hell' but should see the waiter before ordering. This burger is served with xxxx hot sauce, cooled with Jalapeño sour cream and topped with extra Jalapeños and melted mozzarella - fiery."

The Burger Brothers will be at the Deal Hoy every Wednesday to Friday from 6pm till 9pm, Saturdays from 12noon to 9pm and Sundays 12noon to 5pm. For more information visit their website.

Woman kayaker rescued off Walmer

Wednesday, 2nd July 2014

Walmer lifeboat volunteers have issued safety advice after rescuing a woman kayaker in the sea this morning. Victoria Brophy, press spokeswoman for Walmer Lifeboat Station, said volunteers were paged this morning at 7.29am with a report that a female was clinging to the Goodwins Fork Buoy which is situated approximately 2½ miles north east of Walmer lifeboat station.

"She was seen by a passing yacht (Mycroft) who skillfully got her aboard. They contacted Dover Coastguard who contacted us. She was brought ashore to Walmer Lifeboat Station where she is being treated."

Walmer's Atlantic 85 lifeboat Donald Mclauchlan was launched and quickly arrived on scene. The skipper of the Mycroft had been able to get the woman aboard his vessel and waited for the lifeboat crew to arrive. On reaching the yacht the lifeboat crew transferred the casualty, a 50 year old woman, on board and made their way back to Walmer lifeboat station. Once onshore the woman was treated for mild hypothermia by RNLI casualty care trained crew.

The rescue operation took about 20 minutes. Miss Brophy has urged sea users to tell someone when they are going into the sea and how long they expect to be. If they don't return by then that person should call the Coastguard.

If you encounter trouble while at sea, stay with your boat and stay in it on on top. Ensure you always wear a life jacket.


New Pathway from Grassroots to Elite for England's Junior Sea Anglers

Friday, 27th June 2014

The Angling Trust has introduced a new structure to provide a pathway for junior sea anglers to get from grassroots to elite international fishing with Team England Juniors. The programme begins in August 2014 and will provide opportunities for junior anglers to learn about international tactics and techniques and to be selected to represent Team England at both Home Internationals and World Championships.

Shore fishing legend Chris Clark and current Team England Junior and Youth Managers David Graham and Mark Hurcombe respectively, will head up the England Talent Pathway programme with a series of coaching sessions between August 2014 and April 2015. The purpose of the programme is to accelerate talent and increase the size of the talent pool from which Team England can select teams to compete in both Home International and World Championships. With such a wealth of experience at both home and world level, the youngsters will without doubt be in good hands. Team England's Chris Clark said

"Having been involved in managing and coaching England teams for many years, I am delighted to be involved in this new initiative. We need to to provide young anglers with a platform to learn about the specific skills required for international angling and this allows us to blend anglers showing potential with the current crop of Junior Internationals. My hope is that we can provide young anglers with the necessary skills and confidence and inspire them to go on and represent their country in Home and World Championships."

Angling Trust's Talent Development Manager Ben Thompson said:

"This is an exciting development for our young sea anglers. The opportunity to work with some of the most experienced international coaches and learn from our best young anglers is an opportunity not to be missed and that experience cannot be bought. We now have an England Talent Pathway in game, coarse and sea angling so the platform is there for young anglers who aspire to better themselves and dream of representing their country in angling. I would encourage any young anglers with those ambitions to get involved."

The Angling Trust Sea Angling England Talent Pathway provides opportunities for anglers aged 12 to 16 to enter a training programme designed to develop understanding of tactics and techniques required for international style angling. Anglers interested in getting involved should visit for more information and details of how to apply. Participants must be individual members of the Angling Trust and membership is FREE for anyone under 18 years of age. Angling Trust membership is available online at

RNLI rescue Deal folk band

Tuesday, 10th June 2014

Four teenagers who were rescued after being cut off by the tide have come forward to warn others of the dangers. Three of the group are members of popular Deal and Dover folk band Gentlemen of Few, who went through to the finals of Radio 2's Young Folk Awards. Members of the band, Jarrod Piner, 18, Elliott Morris, 17, and Reece Forward, 17, were with their roadie Alex Byrne, 17, taking a walk and having a barbecue at St Margaret's on Tuesday afternoon at around 3pm.

Just before 7pm they decided to walk back from St Margaret's to Kingsdown, not realising that the tide would catch up with them. Piano player and backing vocalist, Jarrod Piner, who lives in Deal, said:

"We walked for an hour and a half, the walk was a bit more than we imagined and we were losing signal. The tide started coming in and we started treading water and it got dark."

When the group reached a high bit of rock they realised that the sea had reached the land and they could not go any further so they turned back - only to be confronted with the sea on the other side. He added:

"We were progressively getting more scared and worried."

They finally managed to call Alex Byrne's mum who got hold of the RNLI and two lifeboats were sent out to find them at 9.30pm, two hours after the boys had initially gotten stuck.

The Walmer D Class Lifeboat and A85 Lifeboat were both launched in under eight minutes. The lifeboats reached the scene and the casualties were quickly spotted on a cliff fall which they had scrambled up to stay above the rising tide. On behalf of the band, Mr Piner wished to say a huge thank you to the Walmer Lifeboat crew who came and rescued them.

"We kept apologising and the first thing that they said to us was, are you Gentlemen of Few ?"

Now Gentlemen of Few are appealing for everyone to pay attention to tide times and not make the same mistake. Mr Piner said:

"I never really paid attention to warning signs about tides, I thought it was exaggerating and silly but it really isn't, it's very serious. We suggest that everyone understands the tide times and understands what they are doing."

See Kentonline for story and pictures.

A few copies of the 2014 Tide Tables are still available from Dean at Pleasure Angling and Fred at Channel Angling

EU Bass Management Plan

Tuesday, 10th June 2014

EU Member States are preparing a bass management plan, which concerns the Irish Sea, Celtic Sea, English Channel and the southern North Sea.

European bass (Dicentrarchus labrax - what we call "bass") is one of the most important and valuable species to recreational angling and its dependant businesses, but stocks are in decline due to overfishing and poor recruitment in recent years. Something needs to be done, say scientists, the European Commission and the European Anglers Alliance (EAA).

If the EU Member States involved don't agree a regional plan soon then the European Commission might include bass in the TAC (Total Allowable Catch) and quota system for the first time. EAA says that it is opposed to a bass TAC for a number of reasons and has developed a position paper which it hopes will help to avoid a bass TAC and encourage Member States to agree a bass management plan.

The EAA says that preparing a bass management plan is a difficult task as the lack of sufficient scientific information presents a significant problem. The change in the European fisheries management regime based on landings to one based on catches is another issue which may need to be factored in. This bass plan only concerns some northern EU waters but there are bass in other EU waters too. Therefore, an EU wide bass management plan has to be developed gradually and adjusted in the short, medium and long term.

Commercial catches in 2012 were 4,060 tonnes. ICES has advised that commercial landings should be no more than 2,707 tonnes in 2014. This is a significant reduction, but only mirrors the fact that the bass stock is in serious trouble. In its position paper EAA has given an estimate for the number of anglers fishing for bass and the socio-economic value of these anglers to Europe as a whole. EAA estimates that two million sea anglers, out of 8 to 10 million in total, regularly or occasionally target bass in EU waters. One million of these anglers fish the waters concerned by this bass management plan.

The EAA conservatively estimates the socio-economic value of recreational bass angling to be an average of €100 (£80) per bass angler per year but Government surveys show much higher values for sea anglers in general, for example the Sea Angling 2012 study in the United Kingdom estimated that "annual trip spend per angler is €761 (€795 including major items) - respectively £615 and £640 - and annual spend on major items is €633 (£510) per sea angler giving an overall total of €1,394 (£1,125) per sea angler."

Deal Pier Superintendant Retires

Announcement from Nigel Chandler (soon to be ex-pier supervisor)

This is the start of my final week on the Pier as I retire on Saturday after 14½ years. I just wish to say that it has been a really enjoyable time for me and I would like to thank everyone that I have met over the years - from anglers to walkers - and, not least, the other members of staff. I wish you all the best for the future.

"Nigel's last day in post will be Saturday, 14th June so please drop in to say goodbye during the week. His devotion to the job and his catch reports will be sadly missed by all and we wish him a long, happy and healthy retirement." (Dean Curry)

Deal Festival of Music and the Arts

Wednesday, 4th June 2014

The people of Deal can now vote online for the town's own Festival of Music and the Arts which has been shortlisted for the East Kent People's Award, an awards ceremony organised by Canterbury for Culture. Deal Festival will go up against five others including the Marcel Duchamp in Herne Bay Festival, Folk in the Barn and Broadstairs Folk Week, to win the accolade.

Deal Festival of Music and the Arts has brought visitors to the town from all over Britain and the continent. Festival publicity officer Willie Cooper said:

"For thirty three years, Deal Festival has presented an ever expanding independent festival bringing to East Kent international artists, orchestras and ensembles of every musical genre as well as dance, drama, literature and the visual arts. It has been there to help young musicians up the ladder of success and these have included Gwilym Simcock and Alison Balsom. It has worked with over 5,000 young people in the last six years with community events giving them the opportunity to either perform or discover the joy of music and drama."

The festival has welcomed prestigious performers including Sir Willard White, Sir Andrew Motion, Sir Thomas Allen, Dame Felicity Lott, Germain Greer, Ukelele Orchestra, Denis Norton and continues to do so with its festival this year. Mrs Cooper added: "We try hard to deliver something which is enriching for all."

Voting will close on Monday, June 9th with the winners announced shortly afterwards.

To vote online visit

Sea Angler Magazine: Mailbox

Issue 505: 8 May - 4 June 2014, page 36

"Biggest Tiddler in Britain"

Daily Telegraph, Wednesday 4th June 2014

"Give Fish a Chance" Initiative

Monday, 19th May 2014

National sea angling organisations and NGOs from around the UK have come together to develop common policies regarding the threats and problems facing sea fish and sea angling around the waters of the UK. The initiative, to be known as Give Fish A Chance, will provide "common sense advice" on how anglers can contribute to conservation through a series of voluntary measures as well as promoting best practice in all aspects of sea angling. As a first step the coalition is keen to promote the work that has already been done in Scotland by The Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network and produce a common UK GFAC size table so that anglers can be confident what size each species must be to have had the opportunity to have bred at least once …

GFAC table

Species of Fish GFAC
Species of Fish GFAC
Bass 45 Mackerel 30
Bib (Pout) 20 Megrim 28
Bream - Black 30 Mullet - Grey (thin) 40
Bream - Gilthead 40 Mullet - Grey 40
Bream - Rays 40 Mullet - Red 24
Bream - Red 25 Mullet - Golden Grey 35
Brill 40 Nursehound / Bull Huss 80
Coalfish 60 Plaice 31
Cod 50 Pollack 55
Common Dab 25 Poor Cod 23
Conger 75 Ray - Painted 70
Dover Sole 30 Ray - Blonde 100
Flounder 30 Ray - Cuckoo 60
Garfish 45 Ray - Eagle 70
Gurnard - Streaked 20 Ray - Spotted 55
Gurnard - Grey 25 Ray - Starry 40
Gurnard - Red 20 Ray - Thornback 95
Gurnard - Tub 20 Rockling - 3 bearded 30
Haddock 40 Smooth-hound 80
Hake 50 Torsk / Tusk 50
Halibut 110 Trigger Fish 20
Herring 25 Turbot 40
Horse Mackerel 25 Whiting 27
John Dory 35 Witch 28
Lemon Sole 30 Wolf-fish 60
Lesser Spotted Dogfish 60 Wrasse - Ballan 25
Ling 90 Wrasse - Cuckoo 25

SSACN would like to remind all anglers fishing in Scottish waters that they must release any of the following: Angel shark, common skate, white skate, porbeagle, spurdog, knifetooth dogfish, sailfin roughshark, greater lanternshark, undulate ray, leafscale gulpershark, portuguese dogfish, blackmouth catshark, longnose velvet dogfish, black dogfish, greenland shark, six-gilled shark, velvet belly, deep-water catsharks, frilled shark, birdbeak dogfish, kitefin shark, tope.

Click here to compare the GFAC table with the minimum fish size limits prescribed by the NFSA, Angling Trust, IFCAs and the 1948 Sea Fishing Industry (Immature Sea Fish) Order.

EU to fund commercial sector to get into sea angling

Thursday, 20th March 2014

Whilst governments continue to ignore the interests of sea angling they are quite happy to provide the commercial sector with funding to get involved in it. In the latest example, at the EU, the Directorate General for Internal Policies urged fishermen to embrace tourism and speaking after the meeting in Brussels, Struan Stevenson MEP, Conservative Euro MP for Scotland and Senior Vice President of the Fisheries Committee, said:

"The EMFF will provide financial aid for fishermen to diversify into tourist activities such as excursions in professional fishing vessels, learning about fishing and fishing gear and discovering the marine environment and its biodiversity."

If they do take up sea angling then perhaps they'll get a first hand view of the damage they have wrought to near-shore stocks, but then, if the winter's subsidies are anything to go by, they'll obviously get even more money given to them to recompense the poor results.

Hold that cod - the North Sea fish controversy isn't over yet

Tuesday, 6th May 2014

Pity the poor consumer who wants to make informed decisions about eating cod. Conflicting reports on the state of cod stocks range from misinterpretation of the science - such as the Telegraph's story that there were only 100 adult cod left in the North Sea (the correct figure was around 21 million) - to misunderstanding over the state of cod stocks in different territorial waters …

Deal Sea Defence Scheme: Environment Agency Update March 2014

Environment Agency

The EA is building a coastal defence scheme to reduce the risk of flooding from the sea to homes and businesses in and around the Kent town of Deal.

Before the scheme, some areas of Deal had a 1-in-20 (5%) chance of tidal flooding in any given year. The new flood defences will reduce this risk to 1-in-300 for 1,418 homes and 148 commercial properties in Deal. The scheme will also protect:

Construction of the scheme began in September 2012. Building the scheme will cost £10 million.

Latest update: March 2014

The weakest point in the defence had been the rock revetment at Sandown Castle. The EA replaced the existing rock with 21,000 tonnes of Norwegian rock [1], completing this part of the work 3 weeks ahead of schedule. This has reduced the risk of a breach, significantly reducing flood risk to most of Deal. This part of the scheme now provides a 1-in-300 year standard of protection.

Deal now also has a new 410-metre wave wall, which is designed to reduce the wave energy and direct the waves back into the sea. It also reduces the amount of shingle that is thrown up onto the road. The overlapping design reduces the power of the waves while still maintaining public access to the promenade.

The completed elements of the scheme performed well throughout the coastal storms of 2013 and 2014.

Work on the beach

The EA has monitored the beach throughout the sea defence works at Deal. They have found that the beach placed in 2012 contained more sandy material than required [2]. The contractor returned to Deal in autumn 2012 to correct the mix of shingle on the beach.

This work involves using two sieving machines to sieve the existing beach material and bringing new shingle to the beach. A mobile laboratory is on site to test all materials as the work is carried out.

The EA will not accept the beach back until it is right and they are monitoring the works closely to ensure the corrected area is to the designed standard.

As each section of the beach is completed to the required standard, it will be opened up to the public. The EA will continue to work hard with the contractor to continue to reduce the disruption to local residents and ensure the beach work is completed as soon as possible.

Work is expected to be completed by the end of May 2014.

[1] Editor's note: granite rocks have been brought by ship from the Larvik Quarry in Norway. The rock, which varies in colour from light to dark grey, is very dense and will better withstand erosion.

[2] Editor's note: this process is called 'shingle beach recharge'.

Deano spotted at Boundary Road

Deal named one of top "30 best places for a weekend retreat": The Times, 27th March 2014

Reported by The Times

Deal has been named among the top "30 best places for a weekend retreat" by The Times. The Cinque Ports town was shortlisted for its two English Heritage castles, Kent's first Conservation Area (Middle Street) and fine shops and restaurants. The town recently won the Daily Telegraph's "High Street of the Year" award and had its high-speed rail link to London extended.

Deal Pier Attendant Vacancies: Wednesday, 12th March 2014

Report by Nigel Chandler

There are two vacancies for the post of pier attendant on Deal Pier. The successful applicants will be employed on a casual basis to cover for leave and staff shortages. Adverts will appear for the next two weeks at local job centres and on the Dover District Council web site. Information can also be obtained from the pier office on 01304 363815.

Deal Pier Attendant Retires: Sunday, 30th March 2014

Report by Nigel Chandler

On 30th March Deal Pier attendant Roy Holmes will be retiring after nearly 11 years' service. His love of a good joke and happy smile will be sadly missed by many of our regulars.

All who know Roy wish him and his lovely wife, Priscilla, a long and happy retirement.

Deal Pier Attendant retires: Monday, 13th January 2014

Report by Nigel Chandler

Following a bout of ill-health pier attendant, Ray Norman, has decided to retire after 11 years on the pier. We all wish him and his partner, Carol, a long and happy retirement.

Deal wins Daily Telegraph "High Street of the Year" award 2014

Report by Dean Curry

Deal has won the Daily Telegraph's inaugural "High Street of the Year" award. In announcing the award Brandon Lewis MP, the Local Government minister said:

"Without becoming either cheap and cheerful or twee and gentrified, Deal feels like the quintessential English seaside high street. Well done to Deal on winning the Telegraph's inaugural High Street of the Year award. My sincere congratulations to everyone who has had a hand in the winning bid - all the retailers and residents, traders and town centre staff who help make Deal high street such a fantastic place to visit."

"A mix of jolly sea-side, cool groove, and time stood still" said one of the nominees, and they are absolutely right … there are three things which made Deal stand out as very worthy winners.

First, they play to their strengths. They make the most of their coastal location and their history as a smugglers town. Without becoming either cheap and cheerful or twee and gentrified, Deal feels like the quintessential English seaside high street. There are arts and crafts shops which use local wood, a store selling local flowers, and a fishmongers offering the local catch: with Dover sole a speciality. And with affordable and accessible parking, it's easy as well as enjoyable to visit Deal.

Secondly, they have the right mix of shops and local businesses … there are twice weekly markets with traders selling local produce attracting visitors and locals alike, dozens of independent shops side by side. While bigger high street names like Marks and Spencer, and coffee shops and restaurants are packed at all times of the day.

And thirdly, Deal has built up a strong partnership across the community so that businesses, the council and shoppers are all working together for their town. The high street is clean and attractive, it feels well cared for and well used. There is a real sense of ownership of the place and optimism about its future. The Telegraph's undercover scout for these awards came away with an impression of 'a town that likes itself' and I think that's a fantastic testament to everyone involved.

Click here and here to read two of the Daily Telegraph articles.

Junior Pier Competition: Saturday, 21st December 2013

Report by Dean Curry

Joe Smith won Saturday's junior pier competition and was overall junior of the year. That's three years in a row. Congratulations Joe on your hat trick! You'll soon be fishing for England …

Another great year's fishing …

Report by mikewhodares

… is drawing to an end with some cracking fish showing. Once again, the pier has given some beautiful bass, smooth-hounds and some of the best skate fishing in the area. The beaches and bay have also given up fantastic fish.

After an exceptionally cold start to the year that didn't leave us until mid April, the fishing got off slowly but improved at a steady pace and the anglers who stuck it out eventually reaped their rewards. Now, as the year comes to an end and winter tightens it grip, the fishing is slowing and we are seeing a few small whiting and the first of the dabs. Some cheer can be taken from the recent good run of codling - a good sign for the coming weeks, fingers crossed. But the cod have been few and far between even for the local commercial fishing boats.

Sadly, another tackle shop has gone (John's Tackle) and I know that money is tight and we might save a few pounds buying on the internet but by buying local you are given local knowledge free of charge!

Deal is a beautiful place at anytime of the year and in the summer months it's buzzing with people from all over and many friendships start here.

The pier is a real asset to the whole town. The guys in the office are stars and they look after the whole thing for us.

Good luck to the anglers who will be taking part in the Marine's fishing match on Sunday. And when you are full on Boxing Day, why not show your support for the brave ones taking a dip for charity.

So to everyone who uses the pier or just comes to enjoy the beautiful beaches or enjoy a day's outing in the town, see you all next year and this time bring a friend or two. A merry Christmas to one and all.

Deal and Walmer's Piscatorial Past

Reviewed by Sea Angler Magazine, December 2013

Deal & Walmer Angling Association: 2014 Memberships

Doug Pettit

It's that time of year again … Please remember to renew your membership of the Deal & Walmer Angling Association - Kent's oldest angling club - before 1st January. New members are most welcome. Membership includes access to the Association's cabin on the lower deck of the Pier. Membership forms are available from Dean at Pleasure Angling and Fred at Channel Angling and the fees for 2014 are as follows:

Seniors £8.00
O.A.P. £6.00
Disabled £6.00
Junior £1.00
Cabin Key £5.00
Locker (wood) £5.00
Locker (metal) £3.00
Metal badge £3.00

2014 Tide Tables

Pleasure Angling

The 2014 tide tables have arrived and are priced at £1.50 for which you get:

Available from Dean at Pleasure Angling.

Deal and Walmer's Piscatorial Past

Review by Alan Yates

Deal and Walmer's Piscatorial Past by Dave Chamberlain, photographs by Basil Kidd, document the remarkable sea angling catches of the 1960s and 70s and the dramatic decline of the shore and boat fishing in the south east of England since that time. Some readers may say that the anglers themselves did the damage with their disgraceful piles of dead cod and pollack. Others that it was the commercial fleets who have also long gone. Whatever, the fact remains that in those days when PC didn't mean anything other than Police Constable, huge rod and line catches of fish were commonplace and they were simply laid out and photographed.

Dave Chamberlain was a charter skipper in those days and he and his beach-launched boat, Morning Haze, plied their trade from the Deal shore. Basil Kidd, now departed, was the local news photographer who would go anywhere anytime for a big fish picture. Between them they have produced a remarkable history of the changes that have occurred to sea angling nationally and this small section of the Kent shore in the very recent past. A great addition to any sea angler's book collection.

The Book, ISBN 978-0-9548439-4-6, is published by Beaches Books and is available for £4.99 on Amazon, eBay, Pleasure Angling and Channel Angling.

Click here to read Alan Yates' excellent sea fishing blog.

Deal Pier Sea-Bed Dragged: Wednesday 27th November 2013

Report by Nigel Chandler

At first light today the fishing boat, 'Defiant', made its way from Ramsgate to Deal Pier where it commenced dragging the sea-bed in an effort to remove as many snags as possible in order to assist our many anglers. The operation continued throughout the daylight hours and huge amounts of debris were dragged from the sea-bed. This included a trawler net, part of the old pier and lots of fishing tackle with weights weighing almost a ton (estimated). Whilst this will not solve the snagging problem it should give our fishermen and ladies a better chance of getting their tackle back.

Deal Pier Sea-Bed to be Dragged: Wednesday 27th November 2013 Update

Report by Nigel Chandler

I have today been informed by the Ramsgate boatmen that they intend to drag the area around Deal Pier tomorrow, 27th November commencing 8:30am. The pier is open to anglers during the dragging, so don't forget to send your photos to

John's Tackle

Eulogy (of sorts) by Dean Curry

2013 and another local shop is closing … John's Tackle, opened by John Kehoe in 1999 at 26 Dover Road.

After 14 years' trading as a bait and tackle dealer, John has decided to call it a day - another victim of internet shopping, declining fish stocks, spiralling vet fees, pricey parrot mix, local council indifference and costly business rates, parking and pier rod charges.

The good news is that John is selling off his stock at a 30% discount until 14 December. So, during the next fortnight, pop in to say goodbye to John and his noisy menagerie and treat yourself to some bargains.

If you have any warranty issues after 14 December, John can be found hanging with Dean and his homies at Pleasure Angling, fondling a lukewarm coffee and gnawing at a custard cream.

John and I have shared many good times and had some laughs but my lawyer tells me that the terms of the super injunction preclude disclosure.

Sarah (Lost & Found): Sunday, 10th November 2013

Report by mikewhodares

"While fishing the bottom deck I entered into conversation with a young lady called Sarah. A short time after she left I found an item of great value which it would be nice to return. She mentioned that she also enjoyed fishing and had friends who fished the Deal beaches and pier. She lives in Deal and works for HMRC in Dover. Very little to go on, but thought it may be worth a chance. If anyone knows the lady in question and could pass on this message or if she could make contact Fred at Channel Angling (01304 373104) or the Pier Office (01304 363815) where I will leave contact details to allow the item to be returned."

Deal pier open after the storm: Saturday 12th October 2013

Reports by Roy and mikewhodares

Roy confirms that the pier was closed for only a few hours on Friday morning for an inspection following Thursday's storm and, contrary to rumours, both the lower and upper decks are open for fishing.

According to mikewhodares "There seems to be a story doing the rounds that Deal pier has been damaged and that fishing on the lower deck has stopped. Well, I'm pleased to say the pier has no damage to it and that the fishing has improved greatly, even through the day, with large whiting, dogfish and a small male thornback around 5/6lb caught on fish baits. Smooth hounds are still being seen on night tides and there has been a nice run of large bass, again caught on fish baits. The winds have pushed in the long-awaited codling with the best around the 3lb mark on Friday evening. So the pier is far from closed, is fishing very well and is well worth a trip. For the bird watchers, the first redwings and large flocks of wildfowl are all around the pier, so there are plenty of good reasons to visit the pier."

Building Deal Pier

Submitted by Rosemary Brooks

I am forwarding this e-mail to you which may be of interest as Mr (Ernest) Venes was involved with the construction of Deal pier. He is now over 90 and lives in Lyttleton, New Zealand:

"Many thanks Rosemary for the 'Deal Pier' links. They certainly brought back a lot of memories. I think I danced with death on that job. Health and Safety wasn't in vogue then so no hard hats and no life jackets. I was the Supervisory Site Engineer aided by an Inspector of Works but as he had lost an arm, I did all his work which entailed clambering around underneath the structure before, during and after concreting. Because of the Goodwin Sands lying parallel offshore, they created strong currents along the coast so if anyone fell in their chances of being rescued were not good. Fortunately nobody fell in but I had a near miss when a concrete pipe was being filled with liquid cement and I was close by in a small boat. The pipe broke and its pieces smashed our boat and I was coated in liquid cement. The boatmen just managed to get into shallow water before the boat sank, then a high pressure water hose was turned on me before I became a 'Mummy'. All very exciting. All the clothes I was wearing got bleached by the cement. It was later discovered that the pipe was not reinforced as it should have been so easily burst under the pressure of the liquid cement. I learnt a lot on that job including a healthy respect for the perils of working with water. The famous Deal Lifeboat was frequently called out and the lifeboat doctor promised me a 'go' but it never happened, not that I was disappointed as the launching down a very steep chute was in itself a hair-raising event." (Ernest Venes).

Charity Fishing Match: Sunday, 6th October 2013

Report by Michael Hayes

Sunday's fishing match in aid of McMillan Cancer attracted 60+ entries on a day when the weather was kind but the kindness of the anglers involved was breath-taking. Firstly a big thank you to Warren and Darren for bringing the event together and to all who made the effort to turn out on what was a difficult day, fish-wise. Spirits were high and the banter strong. Without such anglers charities like McMillan would struggle. The event raised £600 for McMillan Cancer, not to mention the private donations, prize monies and the vast amount of prizes donated by local shops. Thanks to everyone who helped and joined in on the day and a big thanks to Deal 1919 Club for all there kind help. Let's hope this can become a regular event …

Deal Pier Sea-Bed to be Dragged: Monday 30th September 2013 Update

Report by Nigel Chandler

Today should have seen the sea-bed being dragged, however a beautiful sun rise was accompanied by a force 4 south-easterly wind and a fair swell on the sea making it impossible to carry out dragging operations. The forecast is not good for the rest of the week so we will have to wait for the wind and tide to improve.

Deal Pier Sea-Bed to be Dragged

Report by Nigel Chandler

The sea-bed around Deal Pier will be dragged on Monday 30th September and Tuesday, 1st October 2013 in an effort to remove as much rubbish as possible.

Charity Fishing Match: Sunday, 6th October 2013

Report by Warren Hayes

A charity fishing match (pegged) in aid of McMillan Cancer will be held on Deal beach on Sunday, 6th October from 10:30 until 15:30. Entry fee is £10 with £5 going to McMillan. There will be optional pools for heaviest fish and "secret pairs" will be picked on the day. Booking in from 07.30 at the Deal Angling Club (1919) at 13 The Marina which will also host the weigh in. There will also be a raffle. As you all know, McMillan supports many families through difficult times so please show your support and join this charity day.

Environment Agency "Drop in": Saturday 28th September 2013

Environment Agency

Our contractor will start work to correct the size of shingle on the beach in autumn 2013. We are holding a public drop-in session on Saturday, 28th September to talk to you about what this work will involve. Our exhibition trailer will be on Deal promenade from 10am to 3pm, between the pier and the Royal Hotel, Beach Street, Deal, Kent CT14 6JD. If you are unable to attend the drop-in, and want to talk to us about the scheme, please feel free to contact us using the details on this page.


We started construction in September 2012. The weakest point in the defence had been the rock revetment at Sandown Castle. We replaced the existing rock with 21,000 tonnes of Norwegian rock, completing this part of the work three weeks ahead of schedule. This has reduced the risk of a breach, significantly reducing flood risk to most of Deal. This part of the scheme now provides a 1-in-300-year standard of protection. Deal now also has a new 410-metre wave wall which is designed to reduce the wave energy and direct the waves back into the sea. It also reduces the amount of shingle which is thrown up onto the road. The overlapping design reduces the power of the waves while still maintaining public access to the promenade.

We have monitored the beach throughout the time we have been at Deal. Our monitoring has shown that the new beach contained more finer, sandy material than required, and we have discussed with our contractor how to correct the mix of shingle on the beach. The work to rectify the beach will start in autumn 2013 and will involve sieving the current beach material. This work will be carried out using two sieving machines. A small dredger will then be used to 'rainbow' the shingle onto the beach. A mobile lab will be on site to test all materials as the work is carried out. We will continue to keep you updated on the work as our plans develop.

Deal Sea Defence Scheme Report September 2013

2013 South Coast Championship Rowing Regatta: Saturday, 14th September 2013

Report by Nigel Chandler

The 2013 South Coast Championship Rowing Regatta is due to take place at Deal on Saturday 14th September, starting at 10:00. The course starts opposite the bandstand and runs north under the pier finishing opposite Horsa Road. There will be no fishing from the pier on this date until after 18:00. The pier will be open for onlookers to watch the event. If we are hit by bad weather the championship will be switched to Folkestone, in which case the pier staff will be notified as early as possible on the day and the customary pier opening times will apply.

Lower Deck Repairs: Saturday, 24th August 2013

Report by Nigel Chandler

The entire lower deck is now open.

Stumpy is back …

Report by Nigel Chandler

Every year a group of little brown and white birds occupy Deal Pier. They are turnstones and they do a magnificent job clearing bait dropped by anglers. One of their number is known by the locals as "Stumpy" (see original report here). This is because his left foot is missing. He is the bravest of the lot and thinks nothing of tucking into angler's bait when he thinks nobody is looking. His home has been the Pier for the last 10 years. Every Spring the turnstones disappear to Scandinavia or Canada to do what birds do in the Spring. They return in August. This year, because of his old age, we wondered whether or not we would see Stumpy again but he is back, the first to arrive. Enjoy year 11.

Regatta Week: July 2013

Report by Nigel Chandler

This is Regatta week at Deal. One of the main events is the "Party on the Prom" which takes place on Deal pier on Wednesday 24th July. The evening ends with a fireworks display from the end of the pier at 22:15. In order to prepare for this event the pier will be closed to the public from 17:00 hours and all fishing is to end by this time so that the fireworks can be set up safely on the pier. The restaurant (Jasin's) will also close at 17:00 hours.

Lower Deck Repairs: Friday, 12th July 2013

Report by Nigel Chandler

The South (Dover) side of the lower deck will be open for fishing from this afternoon. The Deal and Walmer cabin will also be open for club members.

Lower Deck Repairs: Saturday, 6th July 2013

Report by Nigel Chandler

Repairs to the lower deck are progressing well. The bolts are in place and the timber arrived on Friday. I am told that installation of the timber decking will start on Monday 8th July and, hopefully, part of the lower deck will be open in the very near future.

Proxigean Tide: Sunday, 23rd June 2013

Sunday's high tide (11:45 - 6.2 metres) is a proxigean tide and the high tides on the 24th (00:09 and 12:32), 25th (00:59 and 13:20) and 26th June (01:48 and 14:08) are all 6.4 metres.

Yellows and peelers available this weekend

Yellows and live peeler crabs will be available on Saturday, 18th May at Pleasureangling and John's Tackle. Due to supply constraints orders cannot be taken over the phone but the yellows and peelers will be available on a "first come, first served" basis at these two tackle shops on Saturday from 07:30 … Also, live ragworm will be available every week until the end of October.

Porpoises: Sunday, 14th April 2013

Report by Nigel Chandler, Pier Superintendant

To all nature lovers walking the pier, it is worth keeping an eye on the sea as you may be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a porpoise passing by. About 30 have been seen in the last week, mainly singles but a couple of pairs have been spotted. How many have we missed? The latest was yesterday (Saturday, 13th) when a single specimen passed under the 2nd shelter giving anglers a clear view.

Porpoises seen swimming off Dover reports Kent Online. More than 20 harbour porpoises have been seen in the Channel off Samphire Hoe. Local wildlife expert Phil Smith, who is a volunteer ranger at the Hoe, reported seeing them in a flat, calm sea last Tuesday. "They are the smallest of the dolphin family but an adult can be six feet in length," he said. "It is the only porpoise living in Europe, but unfortunately they often drown in fishermen's nets. A recent beach survey in Kent found several dead and mutilated carcasses on the shore."

Deal Pier Storm Damage: Sunday, 17th March 2013

Report by David Chamberlain

After last week's north-east blow, the end of the pier at Deal has taken a bit of a pasting. This is a regular occurrence through the winter months at Deal and most years it happens. However, there have been some rumours that the end of the pier was totally destroyed and that the whole pier is now closed for fishing. This is not true. The pier stem is open to anglers every day and the opening hours will be extended at the end of March (see home page). Until it is repaired the bottom deck (which is only a small part of the pier) is closed. The café and toilets are also open and have been unaffected by the storm damage. There are eight shelters, with seating, on the pier stem for the benefit of anglers to keep out of the adverse weather. As the stem is around a third of a mile in length there is always plenty of room to find a place to fish.

Deal Pier Storm Damage Update: Tuesday, 12th March 2013

Report by Nigel Chandler

At 3pm today we managed to get down to the lower deck in order to inspect the damage caused by the rough seas - it was not a pretty sight. We have lost 111 boards and two metal grids have lifted. Two large sections of railings are gone and there is extensive damage to the 1919 Club cabin. The deck will be closed for some time …

Deal Pier Storm Damage: Tuesday, 12th March 2013

Report by Nigel Chandler

The north-easterly gales of yesterday and today, coupled with fairly high tides, have wrecked the lower deck of the pier. Over 70 boards are missing and a length of railings has been ripped from its mounting. When the sea calms down a bit we will have a better idea of the full extent of the damage. Watch this space for a full update …

Lower Deck
Lower Deck (photo by Dean Curry of Pleasure Angling)

February 2013 Fish of the Month Competition

Report by Nigel Chandler

February is usually a poor month for fishing and this year has proved to be no exception. The cold weather has kept most anglers at home and the few that have braved the elements have had very little reward for their efforts. The odd small dab has put in an appearance as well as a few small pouting and whiting and even the odd dogfish but fishing has been very poor. So poor in fact that not one fish has been weighed in for the fish of the month competition. It must improve for March … maybe.

Using 999 & 112 from your mobile phone in an emergency

999 or 112 can be used to summon assistance from the three main emergency services (police, fire brigade and ambulance) or more specialist services such as the coast guard and, in relevant areas, mountain and cave rescue. Calls to 112 or 999 are free. Calls to the European Union and GSM standard emergency number 112 are automatically routed to 999 operators. In the UK both 112 and 999 can be dialed on most GSM phones even if the phone is locked.

The 112 number is celebrated every year on 11th of February: European 112 Day 2013

The emergencySMS service lets deaf, hard of hearing and speech-impaired people in the UK send an SMS text message to the UK 999 service where it will be passed to the police, ambulance, fire rescue, or coastguard. Simply by sending an SMS message to 999 you can call for help and the emergency services will be able to reply to you. You will need to register your mobile phone before using the emergencySMS service. To register using SMS text messages you must:

  1. Send the word "register" in an SMS message to 999
  2. You will then receive SMS messages about the service
  3. When you have read these SMS messages reply by sending "yes" in an SMS message to 999
  4. You will receive a SMS message telling you that your mobile phone is registered or if there is a problem with your registration

January 2013 Fish of the Month Competition

Report by Nigel Chandler

Congratulations to Carlyle London of Stanmore on winning the January fish of the month competition with a thornback ray weighing 2.31kg (5lb 1oz) which was caught from the lower deck on 1st January.

Deal sea defence scheme: December 2012 Newsletter no. 6 (Extracts)

Environment Agency

We are writing to update you on the progress of the Deal sea defence scheme. Work on the scheme has been progressing well since our last newsletter. The rock work is now complete and the work on the wave wall is well underway and due to be completed towards the end of January 2013. Further works on the beach will be carried out in the New Year …

Shingle … We have received a range of comments about the beach and many of you have been complimentary about the work we have undertaken. We have constantly been monitoring the beach since we started. Recent results show the beach contains more fine, sandy, material than required. As part of the contract our contractor will be back in the New Year to bring the beach back up to the required standard. This will be remedied by mixing more coarse material into the current beach material to provide the correct balance.

Beaches are one of the best forms of coastal defence. They naturally form and evolve depending on the prevailing sea conditions. Shingle will naturally move along the shoreline and we do not expect the beach at Deal to remain in the same shape that it has been profiled into. On a natural beach, wave activity will sort the different sized material to establish a stable beach. Over time, the newly placed shingle at Deal will be sorted in a similar way.

As this happens, we may see the beach go through a number of changes, but these will usually resolve themselves through the natural coastal processes:

Currently, we expect that the beach will need to be recharged approximately every ten years. The beach has been designed to allow for losses each year, so that in 10 years time the standard of protection reaches 1 in 300.

As part of the design of the scheme we have developed Deal's first Beach Management Plan (BMP). This plan sets out the ongoing monitoring and maintenance that will be needed once the scheme is complete. It provides trigger levels at which maintenance is needed, such as localised moving of shingle back to where it came from.

Cautionary fishing tale from Australia …

I went fishing one morning but after a short time I ran out of prawns. Then I saw a redbelly black with a frog in his mouth … frogs are good barramundi bait. Knowing the snake couldn't bite me with the frog in his mouth I grabbed him right behind the head, took the frog, and put it in my bait bucket.

Now the problem was how to release the snake without getting bitten. So, I grabbed my bottle of Jack Daniels and poured a little whiskey in its mouth. His eyes rolled back, he went limp. I released him into the lake without incident and carried on fishing using the frog. A little later, I felt a nudge on my foot. It was that bloody snake, with two more frogs.

The Bohemian

The Bohemian (47 Beach Street - opposite the pier entrance) reopened on Friday, 2nd November, having been closed for the past 5 months following a devastating fire on 28th May. The ground and upper floor bars are open but the kitchen remains closed pending completion of the fit-out works.

Deal Sea Defence Works: Progress Report

East Kent Mercury, 18 October 2012

Website Changes

I am very grateful to Derek Phelps who has agreed to my hosting and managing the website. Derek's contribution to the Deal Pier community is considerable and it is intended that the website will continue to serve that community and visitors to Deal Pier.