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Cod and haddock catches to increase under EU fishing quotas
The Guardian, Wednesday 16th December 2015
More cod, haddock, plaice and sole will be permitted to be caught in UK waters next year but conservationists warn that overfishing continues to be a threat.
Consumers can expect to see more plaice, cod, haddock and sole on sale in shops and restaurants following recoveries in fish populations around the UK coast and more relaxed catch fish limits as a result of overnight negotiations between EU ministers. From next year, fishermen will be allowed to catch twice as many plaice in the Channel, 15% more cod and 47% more haddock in the North Sea, 15% more sole in the western Channel and 20% more Celtic Sea hake.
Restrictions on plaice were relaxed after the fish showed a dramatic recovery of around 300% in a decade, attributed to the success of previous quotas. But conservationists warned that lifting limits now could impact negatively on many fragile fish populations still recovering from years of overfishing.
"Some quotas continue to allow severe overfishing, threatening the sustainability of the stock and the industry that relies on it," said Liane Veitch, a scientist for the green legal group ClientEarth. Reaction from the thinktank the Pew Trusts was more guarded, pending disclosure of the scientific evidence on which the decisions were based.
"The good news is that ministers adopted many fishing limits in line with the scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)", said Andrew Clayton, the trust's fisheries' project director. "For other stocks, however, ministers exceeded the ICES advice. This makes implementing the CFP (common fisheries policy) more difficult, so it is important that ministers make public the justification for these decisions."
Quotas for fish species such as herring, anchovies and langoustines were tightened by ministers though, in line with the EU's reformed CFP, which requires all species to be sustainably fished by 2020 at the latest.
The news was welcomed by the fishing industry. Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen's Federation, said:
"These quota rises for some of our most important stocks is good news for the industry and underlines the sustainable fishing practices of the Scottish fleet. Haddock is particularly important for the Scottish industry and this quota increase, along with those for North Sea cod and a number of other species, provides a welcome boost for our fishermen."
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs credited the substantial quota increases to "tough UK-driven decisions" which it said would improve fish stocks and industry profitability. "By fighting for the fishing industry, and making a clear case for the need for more sustainable fishing, we have got a good deal and shown we can get what we need in Europe", said George Eustice, the fisheries minister. "That's just what we're also doing in this European renegotiation (over EU membership), fighting hard for the UK."
An EU proposal for a six-month ban on the fishing of severely depleted bass populations was whittled down to a two-month ban in the negotiations, with monthly limits for commercial fishing, and a one-a-day rule for recreational anglers.
The phasing-in of an embargo on fish discards will also be extended to some species of haddock, whiting and sole from January.
The EU's environment commissioner, Karmenu Vella , insisted that the new decision showed the EU was on track to meet its CFP goals:
"We cannot jeopardise longer term sustainability for shorter term considerations. I am happy to announce that we have made good progress."
Fish to eat
- Cod: Only eat if the stock comes from thenorth-east Arctic or Iceland. Other areas are classed as overfished and unsustainable.
- Dab: Often discarded by fishermen because of its relatively low value, this flatfish is considered relatively abundant.
- Herring: A resilient species, but don't buy stock from west of Scotland and west of Ireland caught in large nets that ensnare a lot of bycatch (pelagic trawl).
- Mackerel: Returned to the fish-to-eat list in 2013 after signs stocks were recovering. Best when caught with traditional methods including handlines, ringnets and drift nets.
- Rainbow trout: Largely sourced from fish farms in the UK. For wild-caught rainbow trout, ask if the fishery is certified.
Fish to avoid
- Bass: A tasty white fish, the exact status of stocks is unknown and slow growth and late maturity make the species particularly vulnerable to overexploitation.
- Whitebait: A catch-all term for small fish. Harvesting fish when they are small and young affects the overall growth of the population. These fish are also important prey for other marine species.
- Atlantic halibut: This delicacy has been heavily overfished and is listed as an endangered species.
- Plaice: North Sea stocks are considered sustainable but this flatfish suffers from high discard rates elsewhere.
- Whiting: Mainly a bycatch species that suffers from high discard rates. Ask for and eat fish from trawlers using approved methods to improve selectivity.
Catch and release for bass CAN continue in the first half of 2016
The Bass Blog, Tuesday 15th December 2015
It appears that both our ongoing campaign for sustainable levels of bass landings and our recent campaign to ensure catch and release CAN take place during the first 6 months of 2016 has resulted in some success. After the EU fisheries meeting that ran late into the night, George Eustice (the UK Fisheries Minister) stated:
"On bass, we secured allowances for sustainable methods of fishing and anglers can still catch bass on a catch and release basis during the six month closed period."
The high volume of your emails made a big difference on this and we should be proud of our efforts. We are now another step towards proper protection for our bass, however in 2016 bass landings will still be greater than 3 times the sustainable level and there is so much more needed. It also seems (details are still sketchy) the Ministers folded and exemptions for inshore commercial fishermen have been made no matter what method they use. If this is so it means no regard has been made to the impact of the method as it should in line with Article 17 of the "new" Common Fisheries Policy.
Overall though this is a battle won but the war very much continues. More information and comment will follow on the saveourseabass.org site.
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.
Free parking in Deal over the Christmas period …
26th November 2015
Free parking is available in Deal car parks owned by Dover District Council on the following dates in December:
- Saturday, 5th December (Small Business Saturday)
- Friday, 18th to, and including, Monday, 28th December
Parking charges will still apply at car parks not owned by DDC, including the Sainsbury's and Co-op car parks.
EC proposal for no bass fishing in the first half of 2016 …
WSF, Tuesday 10th November 2015
The European Commission has launched proposals for the management of bass stocks within the Atlantic and North Sea Region for 2016. This is important for the sea angler as it includes the following passage:
7) What about sea bass?
Sea bass is a special case: real management measures for sea bass were only put in place in January 2015 and catch limits were only put in place in June 2015. The Commission is therefore building on the measures taken in 2015 to halt the dramatic decline in this important stock. Today's proposal includes a complete fishing ban for commercial vessels and recreational anglers in the first half of 2016. For the second half of 2016, the Commission is proposing a monthly one tonne catch limit for vessels targeting sea bass, and a one fish bag limit for recreational anglers . It is also proposing to maintain the closure for commercial fishing around Ireland.
This signals that the European Commission is preparing to ban fishing for bass (commercial and recreational) for the first half of 2016 and for the second half introduce a one fish bag limit for recreational anglers thereafter. The full EC Press Release reads as follows:
The European Commission proposes fish quotas (Total Allowable Catches) for 2016 for the Atlantic and the North Sea. The Commission proposes to maintain or increase the fish quotas for 35 stocks, and reduce catches for 28 stocks on the basis of the scientific advice received.
The Commission is proposing an increase in fishing opportunities to help fishermen in the transition to the new obligation to land all catches. This is the first time the Commission proposes so-called quota "top ups" for all the fisheries under the landing obligation as of 2016. This extra quota aims to compensate fishermen for the extra fish they will have to land. On the basis of scientific advice to be received by mid-November the Commission will, later in the month, propose the catch increase including all the quantities that need to be landed.
The Commission's goal, and one of the pillars of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), is to have all stocks fished at sustainable levels, respecting the Maximum Sustainable Yield. Fishing at Maximum Sustainable Yield levels allows the fishing industry to take the highest amount of fish from the sea while keeping fish stocks healthy. The Commission proposes bringing the stocks to Maximum Sustainable Yield levels on the basis of scientific advice received from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). This year, advice was given for 34 stocks. Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said:
"My objective is clear and ambitious: I want us to bring all stocks to healthy and sustainable levels as soon as possible. I am happy that for a number of fish stocks we can propose quota increases and achieve Maximum Sustainable Yield in 2016. The efforts of our fishermen paid off and we are here to support them also in making the transition to landing all fish caught. For other fish stocks however cuts need to be made so that we can protect the future of those stocks."
This proposal will be presented by Commissioner Vella and submitted to discussion to the Ministers of the Member States at the December Fisheries Council to be applied as from 1 January 2016.
Today's proposal is the annual proposal for the amount of fish which can be caught by European Union fishermen from the main commercial fish stocks next year. It covers stocks managed by the EU alone and stocks managed with third countries such as Norway or through Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs) across the world's oceans.
International negotiations for many of the stocks concerned are still ongoing. The proposal therefore only includes figures for about half of the TACs at this stage. It will be completed once negotiations with third countries and within RFMOs have taken place.
Details of the proposal
For some EU stocks already at MSY, such as megrims in the North Sea and horse mackerel in Iberian and Western waters, the Commission proposes to increase TACs.
At the same time, some stocks have not greatly improved since last year. Cod stocks in the Irish Sea and the Celtic Sea continue to be in a bad state. Sole stocks in areas such as the Irish Sea, Eastern Channel or Bay of Biscay are very vulnerable. Advice for haddock and cod in the Celtic Sea demands considerable TAC cuts to bring them to MSY levels. Cod in the West of Scotland, which sees extremely high rates of discarding, is still at a risk of collapse. Advice for the northern stock of sea bass also calls for significant cuts in catch levels. The Commission has included proposals for managing sea bass in 2016 in its proposal.
For many of these stocks, even more selective fishing techniques are urgently needed, so that young fish are not caught before they can reproduce and replenish the fish stocks. This is particularly urgent for fisheries in the Celtic Sea and the Western waters, where a big effort is needed by Member States and the fishing industry to implement the selectivity measures advised by scientists. This will also help the fishing sector to comply with the obligation to land all catches, which will apply to more and more stocks in the coming years.
For stocks where data are not good enough to properly estimate their size, the Commission proposal goes in the direction of advice provided by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), with cuts or increases of a maximum of 20%. Following a Council decision last year on precautionary reductions, TAC proposals are maintained at 2015 levels for 26 of these stocks.
For a limited number of EU stocks, the Commission has received the scientific advice only recently. The advice will be further analysed before the Commission proposes a TAC figure later in the autumn.
For fish stocks shared with third countries (Norway, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland, Russia), the European Commission, on behalf of the EU, negotiates towards the end of each year the quantities of fish to be caught the following year.
For the stocks in international waters and for highly migratory species, such as tuna, the European Commission, representing the EU, negotiates fish quotas in the framework of RFMOs. These must subsequently be transposed into EU law.
Questions and Answers on Commission's proposal on fishing opportunities in the Atlantic and North Sea for 2016
 Editor's note: At present it is unclear if catch and release will be permitted as legislation generally relates to the retention and landing of fish.
Sea Anglers - Your chance to fish for England in 2016!
Total Fishing, Friday 6th November 2015
Angling Trust National Team and Competitions Marine Group are considering entering teams into the World and Home International Championships in 2016. The Angling Trust formally invites applications for the 2016 England Squads and Sea Angling Teams, and applications are also available for England Managers and Coaches.
How to apply: If you wish to be considered for selection please complete the documentation that is available on the Angling Trust website. If however, there is no photo attached to the England International application form we will return your application which may delay being considered by the England Selectors.
Please note: To return the applications for World Shore Angling Championships for Clubs by no later than 18th December and for all other applications by no later than Friday 8th January 2016. If application forms are received after these dates they will not be considered for 2016 England selection. All application forms to be returned to Competitions Department, Angling Trust, Strelley Hall, Nottingham NG8 6PE.
Details of the events are as below:
SALC Home International Shore Angling Championships: Men's, Ladies, Youth and Juniors - 7th to 9th July 2016, North Norfolk, England
SALC Home International Boat Championships: 13th to 17th July 2016, Milford Haven, Pembrokeshire, Wales
The following dates and locations as below are in accordance with FIPS-Mer website:
World Boat Championships: Montenegro - 52nd Seniors World Boat Championship and 16th Youth World Boat Championship 24th September to 1st October - TIVAT
World Shore Championships: Ireland - 33rd World Championship Seniors and 24th World Championship Ladies - WEXFORD (end of October)
World Shore Angling Clubs: Belgium - 24th World Championships in Blankenberge 23rd to 30th April
World Championships Big Game Fishing: Mexico - 25th World Championship BGF/Trolling in Acalpulco, Guerrero (date tbc).
World Championships Shore Angling Youth U16s and U21s: Spain - 25th World Championship Youth, Class U16s and 16th World Championships Youth, class U21s, Commune of Valence (date tbc).
World Championships Long Casting of Sea Weights: Portugal - 19th World Championship Long Casting of Sea Weights (Seniors) and 3rd World Championship Long Casting Sea Weights (Ladies) (date tbc).
All anglers/casters must have individual membership of the Angling Trust to apply for selection.
British Open 2015
Dave Chamberlain, 2nd November 2015
A sea mist engulfed the 237 anglers who fished in this year's British Open which was successfully organised by England International team members Saul Page and Richard Yates.
Well known Dorset match angler Richard Cleal managed to catch an incredible 35 fish to win Deal's major sea angling event with 5.990 kg. His catch mainly consisted of dabs and whiting. Second and third places were very close with Chris Snow (5.550 kg) just beating Mark Taylor by 10 grams. The favoured zone was the Sandwich Bay area. Owing to the warm settled weather the sea had become clear, which was not the best conditions to catch cod, and the heaviest fish of the Open was a bass of 1.220 kg caught by Kirk Watson. Henry Randell managed a 0.550 kg flounder which was good enough to be the heaviest flatfish and win £500 prize money. Deal's Joe Smith, who is an England International Junior, won the British Open junior title. Out of 23 teams of four, the winners were Dave Mewburn, Tom Wells, Robbie Taylor and Joseph Smith.
A date in the match anglers' diary for next year's British Open is 6th November, 2016.
Richard Cleal, Chris Snow and Mark Taylor Joe Smith
British Open 2015 … bait bulletin
Dean Curry, Pleasure Angling
With the British Open this Sunday (11am to 4pm), please don't leave it too late to order your bait for this weekend as there is only so much to go around. Deal's bait and tackle shops are struggling to meet demand so just call me at Pleasure Angling (01304 239191) or Fred at Channel Angling (01304 373104) to avoid disappointment.
Repairs are needed after strong waves cause damage to Deal Pier
Kentonline, Saturday 3rd October 2015
Wave damage has struck Deal Pier leaving many of the boards on the lower deck destroyed. Tony Friend, from Deal, took a video of the scene as large waves ripped through the lower deck, causing the boards to disintegrate into the sea and letting water leak through onto the Pier. The boards will now need to be replaced. He said:
"Many of the boards have now gone due to the waves."
Mr Friend shot the footage on Thursday this week.
Dover District Council ("DDC"), which owns the Pier, said repairs would be made soon. A DDC spokesman said:
"We are aware of some recent wave damage to the boarding on the lower deck at Deal Pier, and we are making arrangements for repairs to be carried out over the next few days."
Editor's note: Some 14 or so timber boards on the lower deck were extensively damaged by winter storms on Sunday, 28th December 2014 and Sunday, 11th January 2015. The DDC agreed to replace those damaged timbers with metal grilles (to match existing) and those works, costing in the region of £14,500, are scheduled to be completed at the end of next week i.e. on or before Saturday, 10th October.
Unlike the wooden decking which is regularly (and frequently) damaged by storms, the metal grilles withstand severe wave action by offering no resistance and allowing water to pass through. To mitigate the cost of future repairs to the lower deck, the DDC is considering a proposal to replace the remainder of the timber boards with metal grilles, the cost of which is estimated to be in the region of £120k. Notwithstanding the very considerable cost savings arising from reduced incidents of storm damage, the DDC has no funds to meet such costs "for the foreseeable future".
The lower deck is currently open but, for the latest news, call the Pier Office (01304 363815).
Fish finger celebrates 60th anniversary
BBC Radio 5, 26th September 2015
18 eaten every second by Captain Birdseye and his shipmates and the BBC, Sky News and Yahoo are also tucking in …
Charity Fishing Match - Results
Sunday, 27th September 2015
Report by Michael Hayes
The first fishing match to raise funds for Ronald McDonald House charity took place on the beaches of Deal today and was well attended. This charity offers accommodation to the families of sick children receiving treatment for long and serious illness making it possible for families to stay together at this stressful time. The particular Ronald McDonald House for which funds were being raised today is situated in Camberwell, south London.
Organised by Warren Hayes with the kind help and support of local anglers, in particular, Brian and Louie Smith and Kevin Gisby. Thank you to the 1919 Club for allowing us to use their facilities and clubhouse. Also a big thank you to those who donated prizes - Channel Angling, Pleasure Angling and many others. And to each and everyone who turned out to fish and to support this charity, your efforts and kindness will go to help a family through a difficult time. Together you raised a substantial sum of money, well done.
As for the fishing … it was patchy, with only whiting, small bass, pouting and dabs showing. However Louie Smith found a lovely bass of around 3½ lb in the later stages of the match to secure victory - congratulations Louie. There were no losers today - only winners:
- Louie Smith
- Sam Collier
- Barry Wilmshurst
North Sea cod taken off red list
The Guardian, Friday 25th September 2015
Conservationists have taken North Sea cod off a red list of "fish to avoid" eating, as the ailing fishery begins to show signs of recovery. The fishery, which collapsed in the 1980s as a result of overfishing, has risen above dangerously low levels for the first time after years of reduced fishing and efforts to avoid catching cod in mixed fisheries, the Marine Conservation Society said.
The signs of improvement have led the MCS, which assesses seafood on a traffic light system and a one to five rating where one is the most sustainable, to raise the fishery to an "amber" rating and a level four recommendation it should be eaten only very occasionally. But the conservation group warned cod may never return to its pre-collapse glory days and more effort was needed to boost its populations to healthy levels. An MCS fisheries officer, Samuel Stone, said:
"It's fantastic to see this fishery finally off the red list. Years of sacrifice and a lot of hard work have led to population increases above dangerously low levels. Whilst this is certainly is a milestone for North Sea cod, the job is not done yet. Efforts of recent years need to continue in order for the fishery to head towards the green end of the spectrum."
He said cod numbers needed to rise and catches should be further reduced to levels where they are being fished without depleting the population, with all cod stocks in the UK still being fished above that level. Decades of overfishing which reduced populations and the size and age of cod, along with the warming of the region's seas have cut the reproductive success of the cod in the North Sea, the MCS said. With the seas continuing to warm, the slower and lower the recovery may be.
There is also bad news for nine other, smaller, cod fisheries in the north-east Atlantic which remain red-listed by the MCS, including those fished from the Irish Sea, Celtic Sea, and West of Scotland.
From being widely caught and landed in UK ports, cod is now the country's most imported species, with most coming from the north-east Arctic and Iceland where fisheries are doing well but some fish from depleted fisheries finding its way into products. And a proportion of our imports are fished in Europe and then sent to China to be processed before being imported, making it hard to tell where the cod was originally caught, the conservation group said.
The MCS is urging consumers to ask exactly where their cod is from and businesses to check their supply chains to avoid red listed fish. The latest update of the FishOnline website which advises consumers on eating sustainable seafood also warns that all wild caught sea bass is now on the "fish to avoid" list as the fishery faces collapse. Whiting from the Irish Sea has also slipped down into the red list, as the population is severely depleted with high numbers of young fish being caught as bycatch in scampi fisheries.
Editor's note: Despite the good news, Professor Callum Roberts - one of the world's leading fisheries scientists - points out that North Sea cod are still way below their historic levels, and cod stocks along the west coast of the UK and in the Irish Sea have declined and hardly show any signs of recovery. This news on North Sea cod stocks led the MCS to remove cod from their fish to avoid list, as the BBC reported. However, it must be noted that the MCS states that North Sea cod are still only classed as a fish to eat occasionally, and that commercial pressure needs to continue to reduce.
Pier Approach makeover - update
Lord Douglas of Blenheim, Friday 18th September 2015
Patch-repairing of the promenade deck seating has now been completed by the volunteers who now plan to seal the weathered wood to afford it some protection from the elements. I am particularly grateful to the Pier staff and volunteers for their assistance with this effort, in particular keen anglers John Green and his son Patrick who are active members of the Deal & Walmer Angling Association and good friends of the Pier.
During these works three plastic bags containing dog faeces were found stuffed behind the seating. Dog owners are reminded to put all such waste in the red bins provided on the promenade deck for that purpose.
Supermoon lunar eclipse on Monday, 28th September 2015
The Watchers, 31st August 2015
A rare celestial event - a total lunar eclipse and the closest supermoon of the year - is scheduled for Monday, 28th September 2015 between 02:07 and 05:27 with the full eclipse visible between 03:11 and 04:23. The moon will have dropped lower towards the south-western horizon by then, and will likely glow an eerie dark red colour. The Moon is above the horizon during this eclipse so, with good weather conditions in Deal (!), the entire eclipse will be visible in the south-west. The duration of the full eclipse is 1 hour, 11 minutes.
It promises to be a rare spectacle. The last total lunar eclipse witnessed from UK shores was more than four years ago. Yet what makes this one really special is the nearness of the moon that night. At just 356,876 kilometres away it will be the closest total lunar eclipse visible from the UK so far this century. In fact we will have to wait until October 2051 to see a supermoon eclipse that is any closer.
Why red? Visible sunlight is made up of light travelling at different wavelengths. The red end of the visible spectrum has the longest wavelengths and so red light is less easily absorbed by Earth's atmosphere. Instead it bounces through, casting a red glow onto the moon to give us a blood-red moon effect.
In summary, set your alarm for 2am on Monday to view a total eclipse of the Moon visible in its entirety (weather permitting) from the British Isles. Viewed from Deal our September supermoon will remain fully eclipsed for just over one hour. The point of deepest eclipse - and so the darkest the moon's disc will become - occurs at just after 3:45am. By 4:25am the Earth's shadow begins its drawn out exit. It will take a further hour then for the supermoon to exit the shadow. By the time the eclipse finishes the eastern sky will have become light with the onset of dawn (at 06:51), coinciding with the arrival of that more familiar terrestrial event - breakfast.
Low tide is at 06:49 and the Solunar reading is 116 (very high) so, after a leisurely breakfast, why not fish the Pier or local beaches on the flood tide (high tide is at 11:56 - 6.7 metres). It promises to be moontastic !
The British Open 2015
Sunday, 1st November 2015: 11am to 4pm
Organised by Richard Yates and Saul Page
Charity Fishing Match
Sunday, 27th September 2015: 10am to 3pm
Organised by Michael and Warren Hayes
Pier Approach makeover - update
Kieron Burrett, Technical Support Officer (Property Services), Thursday, 3rd September 2015
Pier staff and local volunteers have gathered to conclude works to the Pier Approach. The staff have voluntarily worked throughout June and July to repaint the ceiling and entrance walls, side railings and entrance gates. In August, local volunteers helped the staff to replenish the flag poles and repaint the entrance seats.
Additional works are being carried out by Doug Pettit and other volunteers to repair the seating on the Pier's promenade deck.
Dover District Council would like to sincerely thank all those involved with the current, completed and future works to the Pier.
Chris Burrows completes 20 years on the Pier
Friday 21st August 2015
Lord Douglas of Blenheim congratulates Chris Burrows on completing his first 20 years as Deal's favourite Pier Attendant. A valuable source of all things Pier-related, Chris wastes no time telling anglers what they can do with their tackle and where they can put their rod. Unfortunately, Chris tells us he is good for another 20 years …
Chris looking tanned and relaxed before his "on-the-jobbie" training …
Is it legal to harm a seagull ?
BBC 19th August 2015
All species of gulls are protected, but only in the same way that any wild bird is in the UK, says RSPB public affairs officer Tony Whitehead. An attack on a seagull falls foul of section 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 which covers England and Wales which provides that "if any person intentionally kills, injures or takes any wild bird, he shall be guilty of an offence". A similar law covers Scotland and Northern Ireland. If convicted of cruelty against a seagull, an offender could be fined up to £5,000 and potentially jailed for up to six months: "The Wildlife and Countryside Act covers virtually every animal against cruelty or killing," explains Paul Diamond, who specialises in gull control and is based in Cornwall.
Strong anti-gull sentiment has intensified over the summer. The birds have been associated with attacks on humans, including pensioners and young children. "Killer gulls" were blamed for the death of a chihuahua dog in May, and a tortoise last month.
A YouGov poll earlier in August found that 44% of Britons would support a gull cull, though that varied by age - half of respondents aged 18 to 24 opposed a bird cull, while the same number of over-60s backed one.
There is a way to control particularly troublesome gulls - special licences can be issued by the government to kill the birds where they are seen to be a risk to public safety. Whitehead calls this "a civilised piece of legislation that allows protection but still offers you to cull birds if there is a problem".
And it's by no means clear that sheer numbers of seagulls represent any kind of problem. The number of herring gulls has seemingly halved in the past 30 years as Britain's fishing industry has waned. This population drop caused the British Trust for Ornithology to place the herring gull on its "red list" in 2009. But it's more complicated than that, Diamond says:
"At traditional nest sites the numbers have dropped dramatically. However most people will argue that's because they've started to move into urban areas and nest on roofs. The truth is we really don't know whether their numbers are up or down."
Diamond would not suggest the public engages in vigilantism against gulls. Not only is it illegal, it's likely to be ineffectual:
"If a gull finds a particularly fruitful place, all that'll happen is you'll kill that gull and another will replace it. You've got to cut off the food supply."
Daily Mail lists Deal as one of 20 unspoilt seaside gems you must visit
Kentonline and Daily Mail, Monday 10th August 2015
Those in the know head to Deal rather than Whitstable now, according to today's Daily Mail. The town has been listed in the British paper as one of 20 unspoilt seaside gems you must visit. The article reads:
"While Whitstable has become a fashionable hotspot on the Kent coast, those in the know head to Deal, around a 40 minute drive away, which is just as pretty but without as many visitors."
The writer gives mention to the array of pastel-painted houses on the seafront as well as the many art galleries and shops in Deal's picturesque streets. Another noteworthy attraction, for them, is The Deal Maritime and Local History Museum in St George's Road where you'll find a ship's bell, figurehead, several model ships and engravings of Turner's illustrations of the town.
Commenting on where to eat, stay and what's nearby, the Daily Mail suggest Jasin's Restaurant on Deal Pier, Bear's Well Bed & Breakfast in St George's Road and English Heritage's Walmer Castle.
Deal has been listed by other national newspapers in recent months. The Times listed Deal as one of the top 30 places to live by the sea and one of the top 30 best places to visit for a weekend retreat in April 2014. Deal was commended for its 1950s vibe and its mix of writers, musicians and business people. The Telegraph also considered Deal to be one of the top 20 towns to consider relocating to. MP Charlie Elphicke said:
"This accolade shows how Deal is a town on the up. The hourly fast train has improved access and the best high street in the country has drawn new visitors. It's great news that Deal is overhauling Whitstable and is becoming a must-visit town. This should boost our local economy further and make Deal even greater!"
Gull running …
Daily Telegraph, 28th July 2015
In a craze dubbed 'Britain's fastest growing extreme sport', teenagers run down seafronts with bags of fish and chips above their heads. The teens have been spotted in Whitby, Brighton, Newquay and Blackpool. The UK is currently in the midst of a gull crisis with the birds linked to attacks on people and even the deaths of several pets including a dog. One of the teens in Whitby said:
"It's great fun. We choose two points, grab some food and run as fast as we can. The idea is to get to the end without a bird nabbing the chips. The winner is whoever can run the furthest without the seagull getting anything."
"The seagulls are a pain around here and they'll try and nick your food anyway so we might as well have some fun while they're doing it. The tourists think it's hilarious."
Seagull butty bandit 999 call
Daily Telegraph, 26th July 2015
Pier Approach makeover - update
Kieron Burrett, Technical Support Officer (Property Services), 24th July 2015
Works to the Pier Approach entrance are set to conclude within the next few weeks. The Pier staff have voluntarily worked throughout June and July to repaint the ceiling, entrance walls, side railings and entrance gates and have done a fantastic job. A special thank you also goes to local volunteers who are currently helping the Pier staff to refurbish the flag poles.
The Telegraph (Wednesday 22nd July 2015) and Go Fishing (31st March 2014)
An exciting new App for all anglers has launched in the UK - and Angling Times reckons it's brilliant. FishBrain is a free App for all smartphone users and is the fastest, easiest way to log your catches. You can use it on the bank to record your catch details, including weights of fish, favourite fishing locations, swim depths, best methods, baits and tackle, plus show off your catch pictures to other anglers. This smart App will automatically fill in all the important weather condition data for you too, giving you an easy to follow, highly informative database of your catches that you can utilise for future fishing trips. Steve Fitzpatrick, Angling Times Editor, said:
"Every angler should keep a fishing diary as they provide a valuable record of catches and conditions throughout your season. This is a brilliant, mobile way to do it, and FishBrain is simple to use too."
FishBrain, the app for avid anglers, is the largest and fastest-growing online community for the world's most popular hobby: recreational fishing. FishBrain launched in Sweden in 2013, and recently hooked its millionth user. The app allows users to log trips, share catches and browse crowd-sourced information about weather, sightings and fishing hot-spots. Premium users can also access data analysis to improve their performance. The UK is estimated to have 4 million sport fishers, who spend £3.5 billion on the pastime each year. In the US 60 million people spend their spare time fishing, making the hobby almost twice as popular as golf and tennis combined.
Recreational fishing in the US - FishBrain's biggest market, accounting for 75% of its users - contributes more than $115 billion in economic output and generates $48 billion in angling-related sales. That makes the sport fishing industry in the US around three times larger than the global music industry, which recorded revenues of $15 billion last year.
Jean-Claude Bel, chief executive of the European Fishing Tackle Trade Association, told the BBC in 2012 that angling is the most important sporting or outdoor activity in terms of its economic contribution not only in Europe but in the US and Japan as well. While the US has the largest concentration of fishing enthusiasts, the angling market is estimated to be worth $3.4 billion in Japan, which is home to 9.4 million recreational rod-casters. FishBrain founder and chief executive Johan Attby told The Telegraph:
"We want to expand into Japan not only because fishing is one of the biggest sports and has a long tradition there, but also because smartphone penetration is very high, and conversion rates (from free to pay) are typically very good. Equally, two of the world's largest sport fishing manufacturers, Shimano and Daiwa, are Japanese."
Speaking in Stockholm last month, Mr Attby suggested that future versions of FishBrain could step into e-commerce, charging a commission on sales of fishing-related equipment sold through the app. He also identified Brazil, which has 25 million angling fans, and China, where sport fishing is growing in popularity, as potential future target markets for FishBrain's expansion.
FishBrain is available from the App Store or Google Play in the UK now.
42 cm bass size limit - it's the law
Planet Sea Fishing, Friday, 31st July 2015
The EU has directed that the Minimum Conservation Reference Size (MCRS) for bass will be increased from 36 cm to 42 cm (16½ in) across all northern European waters in an effort to protect the stock and allow female bass to spawn. This will come into effect on the Tuesday, 1st September 2015 and the new rule applies to both commercial and recreational fishermen. In addition to retaining no more than three fish per day recreational anglers will now be required to release all bass caught below 42 cm.
The EU "Q & A" can be viewed here …
This completes the package of measures for 2015 aimed at dramatically reducing bass fishing mortality. Other parts of the package included a ban on winter pelagic trawling for bass, a three fish per day bag limit for recreational anglers and most recently monthly vessel limits for commercial bass fisheries.
The increase in MCRS is a move that the Angling Trust and Bass Anglers' Sportfishing Society (BASS) have battled for more than a decade to get adopted and is a big step towards reducing bass fishing mortality and managing the stock sustainably by allowing at least some female bass the chance to spawn - something female bass can only start to do when they reach around 42 cm in length.
No increase in mesh sizes for commercial fisheries have been proposed alongside the increase in MCRS in a bid to reduce the amount of 'micro-management' from Brussels - a long standing criticism from the commercial fishing industry.
As a result, commercial fishermen are being expected to change fishing gears voluntarily in order to avoid the time and expense of catching fish below 42cm which, from September 1st when the new MCRS comes in to force, they will be unable to sell. The new measure will remain in place until reviewed (before the end of 2017), amended or overtaken by an overhaul of technical measures or the introduction of multi-annual plans.
New protections for sea bass to come into effect
New Food, Wednesday, 5th August 2015
New restrictions on the fishing of sea bass will come into effect in the UK from as early as 1 September. This is following action by UK government to protect the species, Fisheries Minister George Eustice announced today. The new controls are the result of continued lobbying in Europe to introduce new commercial and recreational fishing restrictions for bass. These measures will address the long-term decline in bass stocks due to overfishing and support British fishermen for the future by ensuring sustainable bass fishing and angling.
From next month, fishermen and anglers will be prevented from catching juvenile bass under 42cm in size, giving female bass the chance to grow to an age where they can spawn. This will strengthen our stocks by creating a new generation of fish for us to catch more sustainably. Commenting on the new measures, Fisheries Minister George Eustice said:
"We've been consistent in Europe on the need to protect sea bass and the measures we've secured this year are vital to improving the health of our stocks. We can't be complacent and while these measures are a significant step in kick-starting progress we have to ensure any recovery is sustained. That's why we'll be working closely with EU Member States, fishermen and anglers to build on this success and secure long-term improvement in the years to come."
A minimum catch size will allow bass to grow to spawning age. The UK Government spearheaded the introduction of the restrictions and worked closely with the EU Commission and Member States to develop a package covering:
- a daily 3 fish bag limit per person for recreational anglers
- monthly catch limits for commercial fishing vessels
- a ban on all EU commercial fishing in areas around Ireland, excluding the Bristol Channel and other areas inside the UK's 12 mile zone
- a minimum conservation reference size of 42cm to allow female fish to grow to spawning age
Full details of the Increase in bass minimum conservation reference size published by the Marine Management Organisation can be found here and here and Council Regulation (EU) 2015/960 of 19 June 2015 amending Regulation (EU) 2015/104 can be viewed here.
Dangerously unpredictable …
RNLI, 9th July 2015
Deal named best hipster holiday destination for Londoners
Kentonline, Friday 17th July 2015
Deal has been named one of the best hipster holidays for Londoners. The London Evening Standard says seaside holidays are now back in fashion with bearded hipsters . It notes that Deal has a sizeable artistic and gay community and is just 90 minutes away from the capital by train.
The article suggests some of the best places to go to on a hipster holiday to the town includes Smugglers Records, the quaint record shop in King Street which started life as a record label and grew from there. This seems to be a hit with visitors and residents alike, selling vinyls and CDs. It also runs the annual Smugglers Festival in woodlands near Deal, including acts such as Cocos Lovers. Will Greenham, of Smugglers Records, said:
"It's great for Smugglers, making us feel confident in what we are doing."
The Astor Theatre, Stanhope Road, has also been praised for being a unique, multi-purpose arts centre with everything from arthouse cinema, live music, northern soul disco and tea dances. James Tillitt, Astor director, said:
"For Deal - and in particular the Astor Community Theatre - to achieve such recognition in our 70th year is a fantastic achievement. We aim to offer something for everyone, including all those young, bearded London hipsters! We look forward to seeing them, and all of you, at the Astor soon. Look out for our new autumn programme with the return of La Voix, Andy Fairweather-Low, Jay Rayner, Barb Jungr, Connie Lush, Mari Wilson and many more."
The Black Douglas Cafe in Beach Street - which is run by descendants of Oscar Wilde's lover, Bosie - is described as a 'chic granny parlour' and a hotspot for bohemian residents who wish to dine on pizzas, sip wine and catch live music or poetry readings. Dalziel Douglas, owner of The Black Douglas Cafe in Beach Street, said:
"We were one of the first places to open of this nature. We've been here for 10 years and it gave other people confidence to open up similar businesses. We are an independent, nonconformist kind of place. People from London have been visiting for years, they come down and are glad to find somewhere like this, where they can come and feel at home."
 To beard or not to beard … The Daily Telegraph says yes, The Guardian says no and The Spectator says it's time to shave that beard …
Jumper rescued by RNLI
kentonline, Monday 13th July 2015
A man had a lucky escape after jumping from Deal pier and getting into difficulty.
Walmer RNLI Lifeboat volunteer crew were called at 2.30pm on Saturday to reports a man was shouting for help in the water. The D class lifeboat Duggie Rodboard was launched immediately. He had jumped from the pier head to recover his baseball cap and had been caught by the ebb tide and was unable to swim against it. Instead it was taking him south. The Pier Master (Chris Burrows) heard the man shouting, called 999 and reported the incident to the coastguard.
Walmer RNLI lifeboat helmsman Andrew Coe said:
"The sea can often seem inviting on a hot summers day however the tidal flow can be very powerful and often impossible to swim against. In addition the sea is still very cold at this time of year, with the average sea temperature being just 12°C."
The helmsman was able to establish that the man had been able to swim to shore south of the pier and was safely out of the water. After performing an assessment of the casualty and concluding that he was fine, the lifeboat returned to station. Lifeboat operations manager Denis Brophy said:
"The RNLI are currently running a respect the water campaign and people can find lots of information on the RNLI website which will help them stay safe whilst enjoying our beaches and coastal waters."
Bass stocks on brink of collapse
Guardian, Friday 10th July 2015
Call for temporary fishing ban if EU agreement to manage critically low stocks can't be reached.
Urgent action is needed to prevent rapidly declining sea bass stocks from collapsing, conservationists have warned. A temporary ban on all fishing of wild bass may be needed if agreement to manage stocks cannot be reached, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) said after new scientific advice warned the situation for the species was getting worse.
Last year, the scientific experts at the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) called for total catches of both recreational and commercial fisheries to be cut by 80% to stem the declines. The MCS said the population in the north east Atlantic had been rapidly declining since 2010 and was on track to plummet to levels from which it could struggle to recover. A failure by European Union countries to agree a management plan for bass stocks led to emergency measures to ban pelagic trawling - fishing away from the bottom of the sea in the water column - for the spawning period between January and April this year.
Member states have now reached an agreement on restrictions on catches for commercial fisheries, a three-fish bag limit for recreational fishermen and an extension of the moratorium of commercial fishing for sea bass around Ireland to include all vessels. But the restrictions are predicted to reduce catches by only 60% for pelagic trawlers, 22% for demersal vessels (which fish along the bottom of the sea) and 6% for hook and line fisheries, well below the 80% reduction urged by ICES.
Samuel Stone, fisheries officer at MCS, warned that the lack of agreement between EU member states over how to manage valuable stocks of bass, popular with restaurants and shops, left the fish and its fishermen facing a very uncertain future.
"Fishery management measures that sufficiently reduce catches are urgently needed to reverse the fortunes of this fish; if such measures cannot be agreed and implemented quickly, a complete moratorium on fishing for sea bass may well be necessary in the foreseeable future."
He said the latest advice from ICES was for a catch of just 541 tonnes in 2016 in the North East Atlantic, half the UK's catch of 1,000 tonnes last year. France caught even more bass than the UK in 2014, catching 1,300 tonnes, he said.
"The stock is in rapid decline, and much more needs to be done - and urgently - to prevent this iconic and important fishery from collapsing."
Deal, Walmer and Kingsdown Carnival and Regatta Week: Saturday, 25th July to Thursday, 30th July
All Carnival Week events take place on Deal seafront and are subject to confirmation:
- Saturday 25th July: Deal Regatta - Vancouver Cup event, seafront from Downs Sailing Club clubhouse, The Strand, Walmer, 2.30pm - 5pm (01304 361932)
- Saturday 25th July: Teddy Bears' Picnic, Walmer Green, 5.30pm. Annual children's event with carnival rides and entertainment. Teddy bear selection at 3.30pm (entry 50p) (01304 381990)
- Saturday 25th July: Party on the Green with Invicta Sounds disco, Walmer Green, off The Strand, Walmer, 7pm - 9pm. Fireworks display at 9.30pm
- Sunday 26th July: Handicap Races, seafront from Downs Sailing Club clubhouse, The Strand, Walmer, 10.15am - 1pm (01304 361932)
- Wednesday 29th July: Baby Show, Deal Welfare Club, Cowdray Square, Deal, 1.45pm. Entry £1
- Wednesday 29th July: Party on the Prom, Deal Seafront, starts 6pm
- Wednesday 29th July: RNLI Lifeboat Rescue Display, by Deal Pier, 7pm
- Thursday 30th July: Deal Carnival Cascade, Walmer Green, The Strand, Walmer, 2pm - 8pm. A variety of stalls and displays, including vintage cars. Free pitches are being offered (optional donation to Deal Walmer and Kingsdown Regatta Association welcomed). For details and pitch appplications, contact George Franklin (07733 325185)
- Thursday 30th July: 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 (01304 381990)
Events in Deal this weekend: Saturday 11th & Sunday 12th July
Friday, 10th July 2015
Saturday, 11th July: Poetry on the Pier
'Poets' Breakfast' - poets read/perform over breakfast or brunch; bring a poem, Jasin's restaurant on Deal Pier, 10.15am - 12pm. All welcome, admission is free. 'The Word on the Street' - Soapbox Poetry and Performance Poetry, as well as other works, at Deal Pierhead from 2pm. All welcome. Adrian (01304 614088) or Christian Dada (01304 367365).
Sunday, 12th July: Bandstand Music on Walmer Green
Bandstand music with the Victory Wartime Band, Deal Memorial Bandstand, Walmer Green, 12.15pm - 12.45pm, followed by fly past by a Spitfire and Hurricane from the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight at approximately 1.25pm (subject to weather conditions).
The Band of HM Royal Marines 26th Anniversary Concert and Parade, Deal Memorial Bandstand, Walmer Green, off The Strand, Walmer, starts 2pm. This very popular event attracts large crowds, so it is strongly advised you check out the information at the www.dealbandstand.org website.
Pier Approach gets a makeover
Kieron Burrett, Technical Support Officer (Property Services), 22nd June 2015
The Pier staff have kindly volunteered to paint the Pier Approach - front entrance walls, ceilings, railings and gates. These works are under way and will likely be finished in July. Thanks for this voluntary effort go to David Denne (Lead Pier Attendant) and his Pier attendant colleagues Chris Burrows, Kevin Finnon, Paul Watkins and Gordon Bushell. The Pier staff have already done a fantastic job painting the ceiling and entrance walls, with the railings and entrance gates scheduled to be painted during the next few weeks.
Clash of the deep-sea titans
New Scientist, 11th June 2015
You wouldn't want to get caught between these two sea monsters. This pair of massive deep-water foes are waging war in Antarctic waters, and it's eat or be eaten. Given it weighs up to half a tonne and measures more than 2.5 metres in length without taking into account its long tentacles, we know surprisingly little about the colossal squid . It was first identified in 1925 based on remains found in the stomach of a sperm whale. But other than it being whale food and living in the deep seas of Antarctica, "literally nothing is known about the colossal squid" says Vladimir Laptikhovsky of the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science in Suffolk, UK. Now Laptikhovsky and his team have revealed one of the squid's secrets - they seem to have a taste for the Antarctic toothfish (Dissostichus mawsoni) another deep-water giant.
Like the colossal squid, the Antarctic toothfish is a predator that usually lives in eternal darkness, somewhere between 1 and 2 kilometres below the ocean surface. They can grow up to 2 metres in length, weigh 80 kg (twice as large as the next largest Antarctic fish) and can live to be 40 years old. "It is a voracious predator that feeds on different fish, squid and shrimps" says Laptikhovsky.
Colossal squid have occasionally been observed attacking and feeding on Antarctic toothfish as they were being hauled in by fishers. Now Laptikhovsky and his colleagues have shown that, far from this being a rare occurrence, colossal squid regularly attack Antarctic toothfish. They examined more than 8,000 toothfish caught by fishing vessels between 2011 and 2014. The team found that 71 toothfish showed clear signs of colossal squid attack - scratches made by the squid's suckers and hooks, and deeper wounds gouged by its beak.
"Taking into account the size of adult squid, the toothfish probably is its most common prey species, because no other deep-sea fish of similar size are available around the Antarctic" says Laptikhovsky.
But the toothfish do seem to get their revenge. The team also found the remains of colossal squid arms, tentacles, beaks and bodies inside the stomachs of 57 toothfish. Because Antarctic toothfish are about half the size of an adult colossal squid, Laptikhovsky says they probably only attack juvenile, old or wounded squid.
"Prior to these findings, there was little solid evidence of what colossal squid might eat" says Kat Bolstad of the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand.
She is also searching for clues about the squid's mysterious life. Over the past 11 years Bolstad has examined four large squid and several smaller specimens.
"We actually have a set of colossal gut contents from a 2014 specimen that we are planning to analyse over the next couple of months, so that may also help us fill in a few puzzle pieces" she says.
Colossal and chewy
It is thanks to the colossal squid's deep-sea feud that we now know what these creatures taste like - Laptikhovsky once had the chance to sample a tentacle that was stuck to a toothfish after a failed attack.
"The piece of tentacle was boiled and I tried it without using any spice or sauce to get an impression of the taste," says Laptikhovsky. "It was okay, better than the widely fished jumbo squid. I would say it tasted like a shortfin squid, a bit chewier because of the size."
 Colossal squid: three hearts, eyes the size of soccer balls, a brain shaped like a doughnut, 4.2 metres long and weighing 495 kilograms, the colossal squid (Mesonychoteuthis hamiltoni) lives in Antarctic waters and is thought to be more aggressive than the famed giant squid (Architeuthis dux) which grows longer than the colossal one.
Deal Pier sea-bed dragged: Thursday, 4th June 2015
Report by Douglas Petit
At first light on Thursday, 4th June the fishing boat, 'Garry Ann', skippered by Dave Lawrence, commenced dragging the sea-bed around the Pier in a public-spirited effort to remove as many snags as possible to reduce tackle loss. The operation continued throughout the day and huge amounts of debris were dragged from the sea-bed. Whilst this will not solve the snagging problem it should reduce the amount of tackle lost by anglers fishing from the Pier and for that we are most grateful to Dave Lawrence.
Massive 20ft conger eel caught off Devon coast
The Guardian, 15 May 2015
Fishermen have accidentally caught a massive eel off the British coast. The giant 20ft conger, which weighed 131 lb (59.5 kg) after it was gutted, was caught off Plymouth in Devon and is equivalent in height to a London bus. It comes just under the UK line-caught record of 133 lb (60 kg). It was accidentally snared in the nets of a trawler and a picture of the giant sea monster hanging up was posted on social media. The caption said:
"Conger 130 lb gutted landed in Plymouth market this morning! What a Beast."
Fisherman Vic Evans holds the world record for his conger eel, caught six miles of Brixham, Devon, while fishing from his own vessel Sea Spray. It was caught on a wreck in 1995 and weighed 133 lb 4 oz before it was gutted. The conger eel landed at Plymouth Fisheries and was caught by the inshore trawler Hope. It made about 70p per kg at auction when it was sold - a total of £40.
"This conger eel is a very large fish, and an unusual catch for a trawler, with the current rod-caught record standing at 133 lb 4 oz" Pete Bromley, manager of Plymouth Fisheries, said. "Conger move to very deep water and die after spawning, so like all large congers caught off the south west approaches, this fish is likely to be an unspawned female. These large eels are generally found hiding in the many wrecks around the south west, or on reefs and rocky ground, but they do venture out to open ground in search of food, usually during neap tides or slack water. Despite their size and power, they are not very strong swimmers."
Repairs to the Pier's lower deck
Update from Doug Pettit, 16th May 2015
I have been told that the Council is awaiting approval of the scope of repairs from its new insurance provider and that as and when this approval is given the successful tenderers will be instructed. In the meantime, patch repairs have allowed the southern section of the lower deck to remain open to anglers.
Pier Attendant Chris "You missed a bit …"
Tickld 8th May 2015
A man calls home to his wife and says, "Honey I have been asked to go fishing at a big lake up in Canada with my boss and several of his friends. We'll be gone for a week. This is a good opportunity for me to get that promotion I've been wanting, so would you please pack me enough clothes for a week and set out my rod and fishing box. We're leaving from the office and I will swing by the house to pick my things up. Oh! And please pack my new blue silk pyjamas."
The wife thinks this sounds a little fishy but being a good wife she does exactly what her husband asked. The following weekend he comes home a little tired but otherwise looking good.
The wife welcomes him home and asks if he caught many fish. He says, "Yes! Lots of walleye, some blue gill, and a few pike. But why didn't you pack my new blue silk pyjamas like I asked you to do?"
The wife replies; "I did, they were in your fishing box."
Beach open for weekend despite diggers
East Kent Mercury 29th April 2015
Deal beach will be accessible this Bank Holiday weekend even if flood defence work isn't completed. That is the promise from an Environment Agency spokesman who confirmed that a setback from last week - which meant no work was carried out for almost a week - has been rectified. A machine which had broken down has now been fixed. He said:
"The broken down machine was replaced with a larger machine on Tuesday. It is all going well, and expected to be complete next week. The beach will be open for the Bank Holiday weekend."
In response to readers concerns that work should have been done at a different time of year, the spokesman added:
"Can I stress again that these works were urgent to reduce the risk of flooding, and simply could not wait. We have a duty to minimise the risk of flooding, and leaving the work until autumn would have been neglecting that duty."
This comes after Jenny Domane, of Albion Road in Deal raised concerns about access to the water. She said:
"After the work done at Deal we have been left with inaccessibility to the waters edge, especially north end, for people, fishermen and let alone the poor rowers."
Nicola Handley of the Deal, Walmer and Kingsdown Amateur Rowing Club, supported her statement. She said:
"At times it has made access rather more difficult, but we have worked with the environmental team and we realise there are problems with the beach which need attention. Although it is a pain, it's something that needs doing, so we will try to work with them again until the job is completed."
Recreational bass angling at the European parliament
Angling Trust, 16th April 2015
The Angling Trust represented sea anglers at the highest level in Europe this week at an event on the long term management of recreational bass fisheries. David Mitchell, the Angling Trust's Marine Campaigns Manager, attended the event at the European Parliament in Brussels organised by the new Forum for Recreational Fisheries and Aquatic Environment. More than 40 people, including 10 MEPs, attended the event which was hosted by Alain Cadec MEP and chair of the EU Fisheries Committee. Presentations were made by Mr Cadec, members of the European Anglers Alliance, the European Fishing Tackle Trade Association and by Bernhard Friess, Director of Fisheries at the European Commission.
Mr Friess confirmed that the Commission (which has just released its own Q&A document on bass) will soon propose to the EU Member States new catch limits for all commercial fisheries and an increase of the minimum landing size to 42 cm for all fisheries - something the Angling Trust called for in February after proposals were put forward earlier this year for a new MLS to apply only to recreational catches. Mr Friess also confirmed that the Commission is also preparing a proposal for a Long Term Management Plan for the North and the South Atlantic bass fisheries.
The event was concluded by Richard Corbett, MEP for Yorkshire and Humber, who called for a "safety first approach" and fair management of sea bass and for measures in which commercial fishermen should play the main part for the preservation of this iconic species. "Anglers will accept the limitations, so long as they are not the only ones making sacrifices".
David Mitchell said:
"This was an excellent event and a fantastic opportunity to put the issues around recreational fishing and the management of bass in front of our elected representatives in the European Parliament who will have the responsibility of helping to agree a long term management plan for bass. We hope that, as a result of this event, many of them now have a much better appreciation of the role recreational angling should play in the development of a plan."
Flood defence works restart on Deal beach
East Kent Mercury, 16th April 2015
Flood defence work has restarted on Deal beach to ensure all parts of it are performing to standard.
Contractors will be moving shingle from an area between the Royal Hotel and the pier to the bottom of the beach and replacing it with different shingle. An Environment Agency spokesman said:
"Our contractors are beginning work to rectify a small part of the beach at Deal, where sandy shingle will be moved to the bottom of the beach along 200 metres of the beach. The rest of Deal beach has been performing to standard since the improvement works were completed in 2013, and has reduced the risk of flooding. The work is scheduled to last around four weeks."
Popular UK fish at risk from rising temperatures
Guardian, 13th April 2015
Study predicts dinner favourites plaice and lemon sole facing severe depletion and rapid warming of North Sea already forcing haddock out of British waters.
Some of the UK's most popular fish may be driven from the North Sea, and the UK's dinner plates, by rising temperatures, scientists warned on Monday. Fishmonger favourites plaice, lemon sole and haddock are being pushed out of their traditional feeding grounds by rapidly warming sea temperatures. The waters of the North Sea have warmed by 1.3°C in the past 30 years, four times faster than the global average. Since the 1980s landings of cold-adapted species have halved.
Flatfish, such as plaice and sole, live on the shallow, muddy bottom of the southern North Sea. As the sea warms some species are being driven further north. But the rockier, deeper seas to the north are unsuitable habitat for these bottom feeders. With North Sea temperatures set to increase another 1.8°C in the next half century, a team of scientists from Exeter University believes the fishing industry for these species is likely to collapse.
"For flatfish there's really not anywhere to go. They're kind of squeezed off the edge of a cliff," said study author Dr Steve Simpson who is a senior lecturer in marine biology. "In terms of being commercially viable, I doubt these fisheries can continue for much longer."
For haddock, the North Sea is already its southern limit. Their fishery, and much of the UK's supply, is increasingly coming from Norwegian, Faroese and Icelandic waters.
The study assessed future distributions of 10 common North Sea fish species and predicted a general trend of decline. By including habitat requirements into its modelling, the new research confounds previous assertions that fish species will simply be able to shift northwards as the oceans warm. Dr Peter Richardson, biodiversity programme manager at the UK's Marine Conservation Society, said the study "rightly questions the assumption that species can simply head polewards as waters warm" and called for stronger catch limits to ensure the North Sea's native species remained sustainable for as long as possible:
"Our fisheries are worth billions, providing an important and healthy source of protein, yet European governments (including the UK) consistently fail to follow scientific advice and set total allowable catches over and above the sustainable limits advised by their fisheries experts. We cannot continue to be so cavalier with such a valuable resource and expect it to be resilient to the impacts of climate change," he said.
The Exeter team has previously found that sardine, anchovy, squid and cuttlefish are likely to become staples of the UK fishing industry.
Simpson said their study, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, had confirmed the changing ecology of the North Sea:
"We will see a real changing of the guard in the next few decades. Our models predict cold water species will be squeezed out, with warmer water fish likely to take their place. For sustainable UK fisheries, we need to move on from haddock and chips and look to southern Europe for our gastronomic inspiration," he said.
Separate research released last week found cod increased dramatically in recent years. Cod is an apex predator and a heavily-fished species. These interactions confounded modelling, said Simpson, and the study could not predict its future under a warming climate. Angus Garrett from seafood industry body Seafish said the new research was valuable, but the future for many fisheries remained uncertain:
"Temperature change is clearly influencing fisheries and ought to be considered in fisheries management. How temperature is considered and the modelling of impacts is likely to be a continuing debate but we welcome this contribution to the evidence base," he said.
Just one catch …
Private Eye, Issue 1389 at page 9, reported by Dave Chamberlain
Officials at the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) are scrambling to find a way to reinstate powers to police the inshore fishing fleet, after they accidentally removed all the secondary legislation on which authorities depended to investigate offences.
Through the Sea Fishing (Enforcement and Miscellaneous provisions) Order 2015, dated 8th February, officials hoped to streamline the way EU fishing regulations are enforced by getting rid of a host of "obsolete instruments". Instead, enforcement powers to police sea fishing would now derive from the Fisheries Act 1981.
But the Eye has learned that the bodies set up to police fishing close to shore and manage the waters that local fishermen rely on have no powers whatever under this Act. The Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCAs) could previously board vessels, inspect premises and dole out fines, but now they find themselves obsolete thanks to overzealous civil servants.
Offences such as catching endangered species, fishing in protected areas or using illegal gear can no longer be invetsigated by the very authorities set up to enforce the rules. Unlicensed vessels could also be able to fish with impunity.
To bail themselves out, officials will need to amend the Marine Conservation and Enforcement Act to restore the IFCAs powers. But with Whitehall now in purdah, they'll have to find a temporary fix or risk several weeks of coastal lawlessness.
Editor's note: To understand how this could happen, we start with the hoary old legal chestnut "what is the legal consequence of legislation which repeals prior legislation and which is itself subsequently repealed? Does the second repeal restore the original legislation ?"
Section 15 of the Interpretation Act 1978 provides that:
"Where an Act repeals a repealing enactment, the repeal does not revive any enactment previously repealed unless words are added reviving it."
Section 16(1)(a) of the Interpretation Act 1978 similarly provides that:
"Without prejudice to section 15, where an Act repeals an enactment, the repeal does not (unless the contrary intention appears)… revive anything not in force or existing at the time at which the repeal takes effect."
Section 7 of The Sea Fishing (Enforcement and Miscellaneous Provisions) Order 2015 revokes paragraph 6 of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (Transitional and Savings Provisions) Order 2011. Now, for the purpose of enforcement of "Community Conservation Measures" (see below), the effect of paragraph 6 was to amend The Sea Fishing (Enforcement of Community Conservation Measures) Order 2000 by substituting the following definitions:
- "local fisheries committee" with "inshore fisheries and conservation authority" defined as "an inshore fisheries and conservation authority for an inshore fisheries and conservation district established under section 149(1) of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009", and
- "fishery officer" with "conservation officer".
In effect, the revocation of paragraph 6 (which, for the purpose of enforcement of "Community Conservation Measures" established the authority of the "inshore fisheries and conservation authority" and "conservation officer") has, in the absence of any "words added reviving it" or a "contrary intention", not revived the "local fisheries committees" or "fishery officer" (both of which have been defunct since 1st April 2011) and, as from Friday 6th March 2015, there has been no competent authority (IFCA) or "conservation officer" to enforce "Community Conservation Measures".
Finally, paragraph 2(1) of The Sea Fishing (Enforcement of Community Conservation Measures) Order 2000 defines a "specified Community measure" as a provision in respect of which, by virtue of section 30(2A) of the Fisheries Act 1981, proceedings may be commenced in any place in the United Kingdom.
In summary, no IFCAs, no conservation officers, no enforcement of "Community Conservation Measures" … and thanks to Private Eye for the heads up.
Acidification killed 90% of marine life
Sea Fishing Magazine, 10th April 2015
252 million years ago, over 90% of marine life were killed off in an occurrence known as "The Great Dying". It was the biggest mass extinction in history, and scientists have now discovered hard evidence that it was in part caused by ocean acidification - something that is also becoming a real problem now. It's a worrying similarity.
Acidification is caused by an increase in the levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the water. The more CO2 the sea contains, the more difficult it is for marine creatures to survive.
Researchers have found chemical signatures in ancient rock formations in the United Arab Emirates showing that the oceans suddenly became more acidic, making it impossible for the vast majority of sea creatures to survive. Scientists believe this was caused by the continual eruption of super-volcanoes, which released carbon dioxide at a rate comparable to the levels of CO2 that humans are pumping into the atmosphere right now.
"We have found that the oceans 252 million years ago experienced dramatic acidification and that this coincided with a significant rise in carbon dioxide levels. The data is compelling and we really should be worried in terms of what is happening today," said Professor Rachel Wood of the University of Edinburgh.
It wasn't just the oceans that suffered from this acidification - land-dwelling insects and huge forests also experienced mass extinction.
"Scientists have long suspected that an ocean acidification event occurred during the greatest mass extinction of all time, but direct evidence had been lacking until now," said Matthew Clarkson of Edinburgh University, the first author of the study published in the journal Science.
"This is a worrying finding, considering that we can already see an increase in ocean acidity today that is the result of human carbon emissions. The important take-home message of this is that the rate of increase of CO2 during the Permian mass extinction is about the same rate as the one to which we are exposing the ocean to today," said Professor Wood.
Consultation on the Second Tranche of Marine Conservation Zones
This consultation is to seek the views of the public on whether it would be appropriate to designate each of the 23 proposed Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) in the second tranche and to add new features for conservation in 10 of the first tranche MCZs.
Click here to view the Dover to Deal proposed MCZ, which extends for the entire length of coast between Walmer Castle and Langdon Bay for a distance seaward of 1 km from Mean High Water and covering 10km2.
Why the site is environmentally important
This site helps to address the gap in the network for ross worm reef, which are present on the lower shore where sand borders the edge of the chalk foreshore reef. These habitats recorded together are rare in Kent and have not been recorded elsewhere in the UK. Another gap which this site helps to address is for intertidal underboulder communities. These are where boulders create damp and shaded areas which provide refuge to important communities of plants such as sea mats, sponges, and tufts of pink coralline seaweed which encrust the under-surfaces of the boulder. This provides a habitat for animals like sea slugs which feed on the sponges, as well as brittlestars, porcelain crabs and squat lobsters which cling to the undersides of boulders as well as other crabs, fish, and young edible lobsters which hide amongst the boulders.
This site includes excellent examples of littoral chalk communities which are unique communities of seaweeds and the animals that associate with them. The area also includes the best example in the region of wave-cut platforms, flat areas at the base of a cliff formed by wave erosion. Below these platforms lie gullies and rock pools, which support several types of seaweed and algae. The chalk foreshore at St Margaret's Bay has one of the richest communities of algae in the south east.
What this site would protect:
- Low energy intertidal rock
- Moderate energy intertidal rock
- High energy intertidal rock
- Intertidal underboulder communities
- Littoral chalk communities
- Subtidal chalk
- Rossworm (Sabellaria spinulosa) reef
- Blue mussel beds
- Moderate energy infralittoral rock
- High energy circalittoral rock
- Moderate energy circalittoral rock
- Subtidal mixed sediments
- Native Oyster (Ostrea edulis)
Click here to take the online survey. The consultation ends on Friday, 24th April 2015.
Activities that are unlikely to be affected
These activities are known to take place at this site but are not likely to be damaging to the features proposed for designation at their current levels of intensity:
- cable laying (two active telecoms cables intersect the site)
- commercial fishing (all gear types)
- flood and coastal erosion risk management
- the following ports, harbours, shipping activities: designated anchoring sites for commercial shipping and transit of ships
- recreational anchoring and yachting
- recreational angling
- water pollution from activities on land (as this is managed under the Water Framework Directive)
Why Defra is Consulting
The purpose of this consultation is to seek the views of the public on whether it would be appropriate to designate each of the proposed 23 MCZs in the second tranche. We are also seeking your views on adding features for protection to some sites designated in the first tranche. It is also an opportunity to provide any relevant scientific or economic evidence.
Defra welcomes any additional evidence that stakeholders wish to submit on the ecological value and the social and economic impacts. Evidence will need to meet certain quality standards. More information on this is provided in the consultation document.
The evidence that Defra collects during this consultation will be reviewed to ensure sites with important or unique wildlife, plant life and geological features are protected, whilst ensuring long term economic security for coastal businesses.
Final decisions on which sites will be designated will take into account any relevant information submitted as part of this consultation. We will publish details of evidence received and a full Government response to these together with the final decisions on each site within 12 months. This will be placed on the consultations section of the Government web site.
RecFishing Forum gives voice to anglers
Sea Fishing Magazine, 3rd April 2015
The Forum on Recreational Fisheries and Aquatic Environment was launched in the European Parliament on 25th March. The launch event, entitled "Why do we need to talk about Recreational Fisheries in the European Parliament? Economics, Environment and Rural Development", was the first occasion for the several MEPs present to talk to representatives of the European Anglers Alliance (EAA) and the European Fishing Tackle Trade Association (EFTTA).
Outlining the purposes of the forum, Mike Heylin OBE from EAA said:
"25 million people regularly fish across the EU, the biggest EU constituency. They must be better taken into consideration by their EU representatives."
Jean-Claude Bel of EFTTA showed some important figures about the economic and social importance of angling in the EU. He highlighted that 1 kg of fish caught by a recreational fisherman brings 200-300 euros to the economy, and that the economic ripple effect sees more than 39 billion euros annually - and 800,000 jobs.
Mark Owen from the Angling Trust also gave a presentation on the role of anglers as "guardians and protectors of the aquatic environment". He also emphasised the social role of fishing organisations, through projects devolved for instance to youth and people with physical, social or mental handicaps.
The next event of the Forum, entitled "The European sea bass recreational fisheries and its long term management", will take place on 14th April.
One in four kids think 'Haddock' is a footballer
Sea Fishing Magazine, 2nd April 2015
A survey by Asda has revealed a shocking lack of knowledge over fish. One in four children apparently think 'haddock' is the name of a Premier League footballer. One in ten think fish is either grown in supermarkets or caught from a garden pond, while one in three couldn't even recognise cooked salmon, believing it to be pork or beef. An astonishing 44% of youngsters did not know what (sea) bass was. According to the Daily Mail:
"One in ten say they hate touching raw fish - especially if it is whole with the head still on. The younger generation are the worst affected by fish phobia, with five times as many 18 to 24 year olds refusing to touch raw fish as those aged 45 to 54. Although the majority of families eat fish once a week, 75% still fall beneath the recommended quota of two portions a week outlined by industry body Seafish."
For those who do cook fish, cod came out as the nation's favourite, closely followed by salmon.
The three bass bag limit: Angling Trust Q&A
Sea Fishing Magazine, 2nd April 2015
On 29th March 2015 a new bag limit of three fish per person, per day, for recreational catches of bass was made law by the European Commission. The Angling Trust have since come up with a comprehensive guide telling you all you need to know about the measure which is summarised below.
Why has the bag limit been introduced?
In 2014, the International Council for Exploration of the Seas (ICES) advised landings of bass to be reduced by approximately 80% due to a serious decline on the spawning biomass of the stock. The EU's technical committee for fisheries looked at surveys from various EU countries and concluded that recreational fisheries were responsible for approximately 25% of all fishing mortality for bass across the EU. This was deemed to be significant enough to be included in any measures necessary to reduce total fishing mortality and increase the biomass.
Are recreational catches really responsible for 25% of the catch?
There is not enough robust scientific data to be able to prove or disprove this with any more accuracy. Recreational catches are an estimate taken from surveys of recreational anglers carried out in France, the UK and the Netherlands. However, we can say that official catch data from commercial landings are notoriously understated with a combination of illegal unreported landings and legal landings sold directly from boats that are not recorded.
How will the bag limit be enforced?
The EU is relying on existing enforcement at national level by Member States. In England, enforcement of the bag limit will be carried out by the Inshore Fishery and Conservation Authorities (IFCAs) and the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).
Who does the bag limit apply to?
Recreational fisheries are defined by this legislation as "non-commercial fishing activities exploiting marine living aquatic resources such as for recreation, tourism or sport". The bag limit applies to all recreational catches, from shore and from boats, using rod and line, nets, spear guns or other fishing gears where the catch is retained for personal consumption and not sold.
Did the Angling Trust support the limit?
Not as a stand-alone measure and certainly not the one-fish-per-angler bag limit initially proposed by the EU. However, in the course of researching how other bass fisheries are successfully managed we looked at other parts of the world, such as in Ireland and in the United States. It was clear from these two examples that bag limits can play an important role, and be supported by recreational anglers. During the course of discussions with the EU Commission and the UK Government we argued that a higher minimum landing size (MLS) would be a better alternative measure to reduce fishing mortality from recreational catches because:
- It would be fairer and more balanced, because it would apply to all
- Compliance would be higher due to many anglers already adhering to legal size limits or their own limits, which often exceed those set legally
- It would protect immature fish and secure that more bass reach spawning size before being captured (no female bass spawn at the present MLS 36 cm).
Is it permanent?
No - not yet, at least. The bag limit has been introduced through an amendment to the 2015 TAC. It will therefore have to be re-agreed and included in the TAC and quota regulations for 2016 unless another, perhaps more appropriate, piece of legislation can be found to maintain it.
Does the Common Fisheries Policy apply to recreational fishing?
Yes, in some cases. The reform of the Common Fisheries Policy in 2013 states:
"Recreational fisheries can have a significant impact on fish resources and Member States should, therefore, ensure that they are conducted in a manner that is compatible with the objectives of the CFP."
The CFP also gives the Commission general powers to address any kind of negative impact on a stock.
What about commercial fishing?
In January the UK, following pressure from anglers, was successful in getting the EU to agree to the use of emergency measures closing the Irish Sea, Celtic Sea, Bristol Channel, English Channel and southern North Sea to pelagic trawling (including the use of 'pair' trawls) from until 30th April 2015.
The Angling Trust, BASS and members of the European Anglers Alliance met for a second time with the Commission in Brussels to discuss the proposals being put forward for the mixed fisheries. We were subsequently successful in submitting evidence from the UK showing that many more of the UK's bass fisheries were actually targeted fisheries and should therefore be subject to controls on bass fishing without increasing discards. Proposals for restrictions on other commercial fisheries are now expected to be:
- Monthly vessel limits by fishing method (weights to be confirmed)
- A new MLS of 42 cm for all fisheries (including recreational catches)
- Seasonal closures to be determined by fishing method
If agreed, this will be a very significant shift towards the package of measures being more balanced and the commercial fishing sector playing a more balanced role in reducing total bass fishing mortality.
Why was the bag limit introduced before measures for commercials?
Agreement was reached by the EU Council on a three fish bag limit for recreational catches quite early on. Agreement on measures for 'mixed' commercial fisheries has been much more difficult.
Why three fish?
The Commission's original proposal to be adopted at the Council's December meeting was for one fish per-person-per-day. This was rejected by the Council, and the proposal was amended to increase the bag limit from one to three fish per day.
Is there a long-term plan?
Not yet, but there is commitment to develop a long term management plan (also known as multi-annual plan) for bass. However, proposals for this are not expected to be made until 2017 and will take approximately two years to be agreed through co-decision between the European Council, Commission and the European Parliament (which adopted a resolution on bass earlier this month which included a request to the Commission to bring forward the development of a multi-annual plan).
Will the Discards Ban apply to bass too?
Yes, but not immediately. Timings are unclear but we expect discards of bass to be banned over coming years. This will have implications for minimum landing sizes and minimum conservation reference sizes which have replaced the MLS for quota species since the CFP was reformed.
Octopus stages a surprise attack on a crab
Slipper limpet bait ban
Britishseafishing.co.uk, Wednesday, 1st April 2015
The slipper limpet (Crepidula fornicata) provides an alternative bait to mussel and, although easy to extract from their shells and a good deal tougher than mussels, are not quite so attractive to most fish. These limpets occur in masses with the smaller specimens on top of the pile. Large limpets are all females, having begun their lives as small males and changed sex as they aged.
However, as from April 2015, slipper limpets can no longer legally be used as bait anywhere around the British Isles. This is because slipper limpets are actually an invasive species, not native to the British Isles and they can smother valuable oyster and mussel beds and also outcompete native shellfish species for food. Releasing live or fresh slipper limpets into the sea is now an offence - and this includes using them as angling bait. The reason for this is that even when dead slipper limpets can still release eggs and larvae and potentially spread the species into new areas.
Sea users who find slipper limpets should report to the Marine Biological Association. Marine users who are aware of any use or disposal of slipper limpets should report the information to the Marine Management Organisation.
Pier lower deck partially reopens on All Fools' Day
Announcement by Doug Pettit, 31st March 2015
Following completion of temporary repairs carried out today to the southern section of the lower deck (by the Deal & Walmer Angling Association cabin), this section of the lower deck is open to anglers from tomorrow, Wednesday 1st April 2015 (All Fools' Day), after having been closed to the public since Friday, 9th January 2015. The Deal & Walmer Angling Association cabin is also now open to members. However, the northern section of the lower deck remains closed pending completion of repairs.
European Council limits anglers to three bass per day
EU Fisheries, 26th March 2015
The European Council has adopted measures to help bass recover. For recreational fishing, which accounts for 25% of bass mortality, the decision will mean the introduction of a limit of three fish per day per angler. Learn more about bass with the Council's infographic.
Bass is a very valuable fish on which many fishermen, especially small fishing enterprises, depend. With over 1.3 million recreational anglers in France and another 800,000 in the UK, many thousands of jobs also depend on recreational fishing.
Recent scientific analyses have reinforced previous concerns about the state of the stock and advised urgently to reduce fishing by 80%. We are witnessing a rapid decline of bass that risks leading to a collapse if no action is taken.
The daily limit on recreational catches complements the emergency measures which the Commission adopted earlier this year, and which targeted pelagic fisheries.
The Commission has previously taken such emergency measures to protect vulnerable stocks, most recently with anchovy in the Bay of Biscay.
David Mitchell, of the Angling Trust, said the introduction of "bag limits" for recreational anglers would be seen as unfair if ministers fail to bring in further measures to restrict commercial fishers. The emergency ban on pelagic trawling ends on 30th April:
"Anglers will only support restrictions on their own fishing if corresponding limits are placed on the commercial catches along with measures to give greater protection to juvenile fish," he said. He said the other measures "should have happened at the same time" as the bag limits were introduced and he hopes at least some of them will be agreed within weeks.
The Angling Trust is now hoping to make bass an election issue and is encouraging members to demand Parliamentary candidates pledge their support for "a fair, balanced and proportionate" package.
Similarly, the fishing industry is deeply suspicious of the angling lobby and contests both the need and the practicalities of reducing landings by as much as 80%. In a statement the National Federation of Fishermen's Organisations (NFFO) said:
"We reject opportunistic moves by some in the recreational sector (clothed in conservationist disguise) to reserve the whole bass fishery for recreational use."
Annual catches of bass are estimated to be 5,600 tonnes in Europe with recreational anglers accounting for 1,500 tonnes. If scientists' demands for an 80% reduction were followed, the total European catch would be about 1,155 tonnes. The precise size of the total catch, however, is disputed, with some in the sector suggesting the real figure may be much higher than official statistics suggest. One of the factors contributing to undercounting is an exemption in regulations which allows commercial fishermen to sell up to 30 kg of their bass catches without recording them.
Charles Clover, chairman of the Blue Marine Foundation, said:
"This bitty implementation of policy is far from ideal - first a ban on pair trawling, then restriction of the number of fish anglers can catch. What is needed is a proper science-based management plan for bass covering all fishing methods which doesn't allow any free riders or unfair advantage between them. It needs to be seen to be fair. In the light of the Ministers failure to agree, I hope we will see new emergency measures from the European Commission covering the forms of netting that have not yet been addressed. If not, national measures will need to be a priority for an incoming British government if there is to be any bass left."
ID Guide to the inshore fish of the British Isles
WSF, 20th March 2015
I was intrigued to see this new fish identification book (Identification Guide to the Inshore Fish of the British Isles) written by Dr Peter Henderson, a director of Pisces Conservation Ltd, also a Senior Research Associate of the Department of Zoology at Oxford University. The work has also been contributed to by numerous other ecologist and bio archeologists within the Pisces team, so a wealth of knowledge has gone in to its compilation.
This is a major reference work for the modern day and will appeal to anglers, naturalists and professional fish biologists alike, as well as anyone with a general interest in our inshore marine world. My previous bibles have been Alwyne Wheeler's superb books on fish ID, as well as many others, but this new work sits well alongside those fish ID icons, and will undoubtedly become a major classic in its own right.
The book has 320 pages with 32 individual chapters covering the different families, and each and every one of Britain's resident common species of fish is listed. There is an excellent pictorial key to the different fish types, a glossary of definitive fish and biological terms, plus an index of common names, also a separate index detailing the Latin names.
Each fish has its own page with information in sections, including diagnostic features, size, otolith characteristics, colour, similar species, distribution and seasonality, food and bait, also life history, and where relevant the current record fish taken on rod and line.
What makes this book special is the quality of the photographs used of the relevant species, many of these angling related, but also the detailed line drawings that enable the reader to better identify difficult species such as gobies, the various sandeels, rare flatfish such as the three top knots resident in UK waters, and much more. Of particular note is that specific critical distinguishing features are highlighted making it much easier to separate lookalike species.
Although a professional reference work, it is so written that it is easy to understand, even if you are new to targeting species, or simply want a more detailed ID book for the more difficult species you may need to identify. This is a quality work and an essential addition to any keen anglers library!
The book is available online from www.britishseafish.com and is priced at £25.
The Identification Guide To The Inshore Fish Of The British Isles is published by Pisces Conservation Ltd, IRC House, The Square, Pennington, Hampshire, SO41 8GN. ISBN No: 978-1-904690-63-4
More shells found on beach!
Kentonline, 17th March 2015
Seven shells have been exploded at Sandwich Bay after being found by a dog walker and his Labrador. John Brewin and his dog Barnes Wallis discovered the 40 lb black powder shells which he believes date back to the 1860s. The black pooch sniffed out the bomb and also assisted the Coastguard in finding the others. He said:
"The first one was found by my black Labrador Barnes Wallis. These are not the first he has found. Others were then located by the local coastguard team from Deal, assisted by Barnes again."
The shells were found on Saturday morning at 9.15am and safely exploded by 1pm on Sunday. The Royal Logistics Corps Bomb Disposal Team from Shorncliffe were tasked to demolish the shells. The operation was coordinated by Dover Coastguard and police were also in attendance to cordon off the area from the public.
Low tides in March make discoveries like these more common, Andy Nye, a spokesman for the Coastguard explained. He said:
"When people find stuff on the beach, do not touch it. Dial 999 and report it to the coastguard straight away. Don't touch it, don't throw stones at it."
He said many people phone the police but it saves time to tell the coastguard directly who then coordinate the situation.
This is not the first time that Mr Brewin and his dog, who live in Tilmanstone, have found an unexploded bomb at Sandwich Bay. In June last year, the pair discovered a second world war shell which was also safely exploded by the Ministry of Defence's Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit.
Supermoon, spring equinox and solar eclipse on Friday
ITV News, 16th March 2015
There's a lot going on this Friday - a super new moon, the spring equinox and a solar eclipse all coming together during the morning of Friday, 20th March starting at 8:30am.
Total solar eclipse?
On Friday 20th March 2015 a total solar eclipse (the first since 3rd November 2013) will occur across the Arctic and in the far northern Atlantic.
For us in the UK we will experience this as a deep partial eclipse as shown on the diagram opposite. This will be one of the best deep partial eclipses visible from the UK since August 1999, and there won't be another for over a decade. A total solar eclipse will not be visible from the UK. If you don't have the chance to see the solar eclipse in person, you can catch it live online here:
- the online Slooh Community Observatory will broadcast live views of the solar eclipse through its website slooh.com, beginning at 8:30am, or
- watch the total solar eclipse webcast on space.com on 20th March courtesy of Slooh. The Virtual Telescope Project will also air live views of the eclipse through the Project's website beginning at 8am.
A solar eclipse is when the sun is obscured by the moon. If it is completely obscured then it is known as a total solar eclipse.
The UK will experience a deep partial eclipse between 80% and 95% of the Sun covered.
The partial eclipse will start at approximately 8.27am with the maximum eclipse at 9.32am, before ending at 10.42am when the moon will completely move away from in front of the sun, thus ending the partial eclipse.
What can I expect?
Wherever you are in Britain, there will be a stark and probably quite eerie darkening of the skies during the morning rush hour. Temperatures are expected to dip by about 3°C.
Will the weather allow us to see it?
It goes without saying that we need a view of the sun unobscured by cloud, a big ask in England in March! At the moment it's looking like quite a cloudy start to Friday with the chance of some showers. A northwesterly airflow will bring breezier conditions and this should hopefully allow cloud to break at times.
- you must never view the Sun directly with the naked eye, even during an eclipse - you risk permanent eye damage and blindness
- also, viewers must never use binoculars or a telescope
- wear special eclipse viewing glasses - not ordinary sunglasses - or construct a simple pinhole camera which projects an image of the Sun onto a blank piece of paper
- how to make a pinhole camera
A rare sight
This year's eclipse is something quite special. There will also be a supermoon (new moon at 09:37am) meaning the Earth and Moon are as close together as they can be. This makes this year's spring equinox eclipse a 'supermoon eclipse' - meaning a supermoon, equinox and eclipse will all fall on the same day.
When is the next one?
The next total solar eclipse visible in the UK will be on 14th June 2151 … 135 years away … put it in your diary.
How does this affect local fishing?
The solunar chart for Thursday, Friday and Saturday (see extract below) indicates "very high" solunar fish activity … so get your tackle out, give your rod a polish and head down to Deal for some top fishing.
Shell found on beach!
Kentonline, 14th March 2015
A suspected World War 2 shell has been found on the beach at Sandwich Bay. The discovery was reported to the police at 9.13am on Saturday. The Ministry of Defence's Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) unit was on site, with the police assisting. Anglers - be alert, particularly after dark.
In memory of Keith "caulkhead" Newbery M.B.E. who composed this famous headline and who sadly passed away in August 2014.
Deal named one of top 30 places to live by the sea
Kentonline, 14th March 2015
Deal has been named one of the 30 best places to live by the sea. According to The Times (9th March edition), Deal is 23rd on the list, due to the new high-speed link to London, its Georgian townhouses and its award-winning high street with independent shops.
Writer Liz Rowlinson gives reference to the houses in the sought-after conservation area of Middle Street. House prices range from £350,000 for two-bedroom houses to apartments with sea views for £180,000.
The Times also listed Deal as one of the top 30 best places to visit for a weekend retreat in April 2014, when it was commended for its 1950s vibe and its mix of writers, musicians and business people.
The Telegraph also considered Deal to be Britain's best coastal town.
Deal MP Charlie Elphicke said:
"This accolade is yet more evidence of the success of Deal. They used to say we were a 'village' unworthy of the fast train. Now they say we have the best high street in the land and the fast train calls all day every day. It all goes to show how far we've come together!"
Terry Carroll (Zziplex)
Saturday, 14th March 2015
Terry Carroll, co-founder of Zziplex Ltd, died peacefully at home this morning after a short but fierce battle with cancer. It was Terry's greatest wish that the company he started in 1980 with his wife Barbara should continue after his death and, to that end, Terry has arranged for his right hand man of many years, Lee Islam, to look after the business.
Sustainable fishing would double UK quotas
Sea Fishing Magazine, 13th March 2015
UK commercial fishermen could see their catches doubled in future if EU quotas were in line with scientific advice, a new study reveals.
Catches could double from the current 560 million tonnes of fish per year to 1.1 billion tonnes in just 10 years if stocks were allowed to recover in line with scientific advice, says the New Economics Foundation. These larger catches would mean added revenue of £356 million a year in the UK, based on current prices. Thousands of new jobs could also be created to deal with the increase in catches.
However, if the quotas were to be realigned in accordance with scientific advice immediately, more than one-tenth of current fishing levels would have to be sacrificed in the UK. This figure would be much greater for other member states. This is why, currently, quota negotiations are strongly tilted towards a short-term view - no one wants to decrease their quotas, despite the long-term benefits of doing so.
Griffin Carpenter of the New Economics Foundation said:
"Our analysis shows that rebuilding fish stocks can result in more jobs, more profits and higher wages. Ministers are squandering significant economic potential through their failure to sustainably manage a vital environmental resource."
Fishing quotas at the minute are decided from past quotas, records, and the size of fleets in respective EU member states. Quotas are discussed in Brussels every December, but they aren't actually obliged to consider sustainability and avoid overfishing. In their meeting last December, ministers set quotas that were well above scientifically advised limits for nearly two-thirds of the EU's fish stocks.
Thanks to recent reforms to the Common Fisheries Policy, quotas should be moved instead to a "maximum sustainable yield", which would take into consideration scientific advice. This is only going to be phased in gradually over the next five years, though, so it's not an instant solution. Moreover, scientists and fishermen disagree about the size of fish stocks in European waters, so deciding what a maximum sustainable yield is could be a complicated and divisive issue.
Inshore fishing fleet (discard ban)
Theyworkforyou 12th March 2015
Oral answers to questions (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 12th March 2015.
See also Charlie Elphicke MP page.
The big European bass debate
Simon Everett, Sea Fishing Magazine, 2nd March 2015
The European Parliament had a debate last month about the proposals for the bass regulations. Chairman of the European Fisheries Committee, Alain Cadec, put forward a draft motion on bass which would restrict recreational anglers to a bag limit and an increase in the minimum landing size (MLS). No proposals were put forward to restrict the commercial catching of bass.
UKIP MEP Ray Finch put forward an amendment to try and stave off these regulations and explained that Britain's sea anglers have always had a voluntary code of only keeping a limited number of fish anyway, self regulating the numbers they take to a sensible number, a brace if they are lucky! He explained that this regulation would be the thin end of a very large wedge. Questions were asked about how it would be policed effectively and that if the committee felt the need to do something then they should raise the MLS across the board for all bass landings, rather than set unenforcable bag limits. It was also pointed out that it wasn't sea anglers who caused the reduction of the stocks, but the industrial commercial fishermen.
It strikes me that the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) is run by the Spanish and French industrial fishing conglomerates, the ones who have caused the problem, but they have massive political clout and are driving this policy of restricting recreational sea anglers so as to deflect the issue away from themselves and create a smokescreen for their activities. The French politicians are afraid of their commercial fishermen, if they do anything to restrict their catches, even if it is for the good of the seas, it will impact on the vast profits and the fishermen will likely blockade the French ports. So they are afraid of political unrest but want to be seen to be doing something positive without upsetting the status quo by implementing measures against RSA. By doing this they can stand up and say they have put conservation measures in place but without upsetting the big industrial players whose pockets they are in.
If we are to see any improvement in our fishing, then better fish stocks are a fundamental prerequisite. To do this we need to change the focus of sea fisheries management away from the commercial sector. The fish in the sea are not there for them to exploit at the expense of other people. The commercial sector should feel privileged they are allowed to make a living from the fish that you, me and everyone else has part ownership of. Imagine if builders and furniture makers were allowed to run riot with chainsaws, cutting down the prime trees in the New Forest and Epping Forest under the pretext that "it is their livelihood" and others who enjoy the trees don't have a say in the matter. There would be uproar, and so there should be over how the fish in the sea are being greedily hovered up for the benefit of a few.
International sea angling teams for 2015
Sea Fishing 17th February 2015
The National Teams and Competition Group of the Angling Trust has announced the International teams for 2015. Angling for your country is one of the most prestigious honours that these team members can achieve, and the teams work very hard each year. The Angling Trust would like to wish all the England Teams the very best of luck when competing in the World Championships and Home Nations this year. The Junior teams were selected in October 2014. The teams selected are:
CIPS FIPS-M World Youth Shore Angling Championships, Domburg, Netherlands, 16th - 23rd October 2015
- Ryan Casey
- Charlie Tudball
- Keelan Owen
- Callum Graham
- Toby Oldfield
- Henry Randell (reserve/non travelling)
- Malcolm Stote (manager)
CIPS FIPS-M World Junior (U16s) Shore Angling Championships, Domburg, Netherlands, 16th - 23rd October 2015
- Jaon Voller
- Adam Howard
- Joseph Smith
- Thomas Wartnaby
- Jack Cairns
- Rhys Hayward (reserve/non travelling)
- David Graham (manager)
CIPS FIPS-M World Seniors Shore Angling Championships, Algarve, Portugal, 21st - 28th November 2015
- Ian Golds
- Richard Yates
- Darren Newland
- Saul Page
- Oliver Hopkins
- Chris Snow (reserve)
- Martyn Reid (manager)
CIPS FIPS-M World Boat Championships, Co Donegal, Ireland, 12th - 19th September 2015
- Gary Galbraith
- Clifford Newbold
- Colin Searles
- Mark Smith
- Steven Batchelor (reserve)
- Rolf Marschalek (squad/manager)
CIPS FIPS-M World Long Casting of Sea Weights Championships, Lorca, Murcia, Spain, 19th - 26th September 2015. Please note the casting team is provisional and may be subject to change after the UKSF events held in March, April and May.
- Duane Lockwood
- Kevin Southey
- Jamie Blackman
- Stephen Boyt
- Jay Lee
- Garry Dickerson
- Dennis Retter (squad/manager)
There will be no England teams representing the Angling Trust this year in the:
- FIPS-M World Ladies Shore Angling Championships
- Big Game Fishing World Championships
- Youth U21s Boat World Championships
SALC Home Nations Shore Angling Championships for Ladies, Mens, Juniors & Youths, 1st - 4th July 2015, Rosstonstown & The Barrow Estuary, Co Wexford, Ireland
- Mens: Bill Lindfield, George Smith, Julian Shambrook Kenny McCoy, Malcolm Stote, Dave Lane (reserve), and Chris Clark (manager)
- Ladies: Nicky Frewin, Becky Adams, Rachael Jarman, Wendy Metcalfe, Heather Lindfield, Loraine Perry (reserve), and Kay Brown (manager)
- Juniors (U16s): Joseph Smith, Thomas Wartnaby, Rhys Hayward, Dan Tillet, Jack Cairns, David Graham (manager), and George Cunningham (assistant manager)
- Youth (U21s): Henry Randell, Jake Cooper, Toby Oldfield, Charlie Tudball, Tony McAfee-Williams, and Mark Hurcombe (manager)
SALC Home Nations Boat Championship, 17th - 21st June 2015, Weymouth, Dorset, England
- Gareth Croft
- Mike Lelliott
- Ian McLean
- Matthew Osborne
- Rob Shattock
- Martin Bobbett (reserve)
- Mike Patten (manager)
Biggest probe yet into fish and chips
Fishupdate 16th February 2015
Seafish, the UK industry watchdog, is to carry out the most detailed analysis yet of the nutritional value of fish and chips. The project will provide robust data regarding the composition and nutritional benefits of this most traditional of meals. When completed, the findings will be made available to the sector to help it dispel the perception that fish and chips are unhealthy.
Despite the huge growth in ethnic cuisine such as Indian, Chinese and Thai dishes over the past 50 years, fish and chips remains one of the largest and most popular takeaway options. The UK has around 10,500 fish and chip shops, collectively serving some 380 million meals a year with a total spend of £1.2 billion. It also employs at least 75,000 people and fish and chips can be found on the menus of many of the more expensive restaurants these days.
Cod and haddock remain the two most popular fish species, but choice is determined by location. In Grimsby, for example, most shops sell virtually nothing but haddock, while across the Humber in Hull, cod is the dominant species. Haddock is also the favourite in Scotland, while it is cod in the Midlands. Seafish said the project results will eventually be published to help with decision making by the outlets on matters such as preparation, cooking, and what type of oil to use. Seafish said it is seeking a contractor to carry out the nutritional analysis. This is the bulk of the work and will include the preparation and analysis of samples of fish, chips and mushy peas, replicating commercial practice. Advice on the latter will be provided by the National Federation of Fish Friers.
Within the preparation of fish and chips there are a number of variables which may affect nutritional composition. These include batter type and thickness, frying temperature and time, frying media, and so on. This is further complicated by the fish species and potato varieties. The focus will also be on protein, cholesterol, fibre, carbohydrates and the various fats.
Team England search for junior shore anglers
Total Fishing 11th February 2015
The Angling Trust has announced details of its 2015 Sea Angling England Talent Pathway programme and is inviting anglers to apply for a place on the programme now.
The programme provides opportunities for young sea anglers to showcase their skills and talent working alongside current England managers and coaches while learning about tactics and techniques required for international angling. There is a maximum of 15 places available and anglers must submit an application form to be considered. The purpose of the programme is to educate anglers about international fishing, teach them the skills required to compete at international level and support young sea angler's ambitions of representing England at major championships at home and abroad.
The programme consists of a series of coaching sessions which are free to attend, and are led by current Team England Junior and Youth Managers and Coaches. The programme will be based on the south coast and delivered at four different venues spread throughout the summer:
- Event 1: Lymington in late July
- Event 2: Gosport in early August
- Event 3: Deal in late August
- Event 4: Bexhill in mid September
Team England member Callum Graham said:
"It's not every day young anglers get the chance to have one-on-one tuition from some of the country's greatest sea anglers. The Talent Pathway is an excellent programme for up-and-coming anglers; helping them to develop and hone their skills, and maybe even get the privilege to represent their country. An opportunity not to be missed!"
Team England's Chris Clark said:
"The Talent Pathway offers a golden opportunity for any young person wanting to represent their country or brush up on their skills to mix with like-minded young anglers and get tuition from some of the top anglers in the country."
If you are interested in participating then please visit www.anglingtrust.net/talentpathwaysea and download an application form or contact the Angling Trust's Talent Officer, Frankie Gianoncelli at firstname.lastname@example.org to register your interest. Participants must be individual members of Angling Trust and membership is FREE for anyone under 18 years of age. Angling Trust membership is available online at www.anglingtrust.net/join
"Fishing" voted worst excuse for infidelity
Total Fishing 6th February 2015
According to new research released today the top excuse people get caught out on when having an affair is "I'm going fishing", followed quickly by "going to the library" and "going to play darts".
2,000 Illicit Encounters members were asked what the worst excuse was their spouse gave them when sneaking off with their lovers and out of a list of 40 options, including "I'm going to the bank", "I need to get the car serviced" and "I'm getting my eyes tested", "I'm going fishing" came out on top with 28% of the votes. When this 28% (541 people) were asked "Why do you think your spouse is not fishing?" the top six reasons were:
- the weather is too bad for fishing
- we don't live near a lake/the sea/a river
- they don't even own a fishing rod
- they've got no interest in fishing
- they fish very late
- they don't answer their phone when they go "fishing"
"What's most shocking about this research is the feeble excuses people make when having affairs - some of them are so transparent!" Claire Page, spokesperson for Illicit Encounters said. "One would think that people would go to more of an effort to be discrete when they're sneaking off. Perhaps they think they're convincing, perhaps the marriage has become so stale that they don't care, or perhaps women can read their husbands better than they think and can tell when they're lying. The biggest irony about this research is that escapism is associated with fishing, but this is the main reason people have affairs too - because they want escapism from their mundane, stale marriages."
When the 2,000 Illicit Encounters members were asked what would be a better excuse, the top five suggestions were:
- I'm going to football training
- I'm working late
- I'm going to the gym
- I'm volunteering for a local charity
- I'm meeting my friends in the pub
Higher bass minimum legal size must apply to all
Sea Fishing 4th February 2015
The Angling Trust has told the EU that their proposal to raise the minimum legal size for bass must apply to all those fishing for them. A discussion on further emergency measures for bass will take place in Brussels tomorrow, following the ban on pelagic trawling for spawning fish that was introduced earlier this month.
There have been some indications that the new proposed minimum size for bass of 42 cm would only apply to recreational catches, while commercial fishermen would continue to be able to harvest immature bass at 36 cm. Many see this as discrimination against recreational anglers.
The EU is also proposing a monthly limit on the volume of fish that commercial boats can catch. However, the proposal of one tonne per vessel per month means that up to 90% of the under-10m fleet in England wouldn't be affected at all, according to figures from 2010, so it would be necessary for the small scale commercial sector to play its part in helping to reduce bass mortality through respecting a higher minimum legal size.
Recreational catches are already likely to be subjected to a three-fish-a-day bag limit, so the Angling Trust is insisting that a higher MLS for all fisheries, including technical changes to reduce discards of bass, will help move closer to the required 80% reduction advised by scientists. David Mitchell, marine campaigns manager for the Angling Trust said:
"Reducing total fishing mortality is the absolute priority and recreational anglers are playing their part in helping to achieve this. It's fundamentally important that the small scale commercial fishing fleet, which won't be affected by the proposed monthly vessel limit but which still has a big impact on bass mortality, plays its part too. This can all be achieved in a fair and balanced way with a higher minimum size for all those fishing for bass. It would also be a real kick in the teeth for anglers who have been campaigning for the minimum size to be increased over so many years to now be required to release immature fish in the knowledge that commercial fishermen will still be allowed to land them."
The AT sent the letter to national representatives from the UK attending tomorrow's meeting, as well as other members of the working party, arguing that a new minimum legal size of at least 42 cm (ideally 48 cm) would:
- address reducing fishing mortality from the 'mixed fishery' and recreational sectors in a fair, even-handed and non-discriminatory manner
- allow small scale vessels with catches below the proposed vessel limit to contribute to reducing fishing mortality in line with the ICES advice
- contribute to increasing the spawning stock biomass of bass and build resilience into the fishery
- move towards a higher yield per recruit from the fishery which would contribute towards reaching the target of maximum sustainable yield
The Angling Trust and EAA partners will be meeting with the Commission in Brussels on Friday 13th February to discuss the emergency measures for bass.
The world's ugliest fish, in pictures
Click HERE to view the world's ugliest fish including the frilled shark, deep sea viper fish, blobfish, Atlantic wolf eel, Coelacanth, Gulf toad fish, painted frog fish, anglerfish, viper moray, stargazer fish and polka-dot batfish.
Free Pirate Fishing app
iTunes, 30th January 2015
Description: "If you combine the best fishing game you have ever played with the flashing hands of a sushi cook, and then add a wooden leg and an eye patch, you are playing this Pirate Fishing Game. There is heaps of fun to be had. First you catch 'em and then you slash 'em."
Compatibility: Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimised for iPhone 5.
To decide if it's the best fishing app click here to view free and "pay for" fishing game app alternatives comparison chart.
Beaver bashing …
Total Fishing, 31st January 2015
Natural England's decision yesterday to allow illegally-released beavers to remain in the wild for another 5 years could cause flooding and block the migration of struggling fish populations up and down rivers, experts claim. It reverses a clear commitment by the Secretary of State for the Environment last year to capture the animals which had mysteriously appeared on the River Otter in Devon.
The conditions for the trial have not yet been made public by Natural England, nor has the exit strategy been revealed for what Natural England will do in 5 years' time if it is decided that the risks to fisheries, flood risk and landscape are too great to allow beavers to spread across the region and into the rest of the country, which now seems inevitable.
Devon Wildlife Trust, which has campaigned for the beavers to be allowed to remain in the countryside, claims that all the animals will be radio-tagged, but it is not clear how their offspring will be tagged, and they will be able to colonise other rivers.
Angling Trust Chief Executive Mark Lloyd said:
"This is a very poor decision by Natural England that seems to be in conflict with government policy and sets a dangerous precedent. The Angling Trust will be demanding a statement from this publicly-funded body explaining how it will manage the risks to fisheries, flooding and landscape and what it will do to recapture all these animals and their many progeny in 5 years' time if the experiment is not successful. Government agencies should not be carrying out hare-brained experiments with illegally-introduced species to rivers until they have tackled the massive problems with low flows, flooding, pollution, habitat loss and barriers to fish migration which are endemic in the nation's waterways."
Protection for spawning bass
British Sea Fishing January Newsletter, 31st January 2015
For once there has been some great news for UK anglers. European bass numbers have declined by more than 40% since 2010, with the main cause being French pair trawlers targeting bass as they gather to spawn in the English Channel. Not only does this method of fishing catch large numbers of mature bass, it also wipes out the next generation of bass. In December 2014 the European Fishery Commission failed to put forward any measures at all to protect bass with the Sunday Times reporting that representatives of the French bass fishing industry cheered when they realised they would be free to continue to catch spawning bass.
However, all of this has changed when the UK put forward emergency measures which will run from 28th January and run until the end of April and prevent the French trawlers from targeting bass in the southern North Sea, Irish Sea, English Channel and Celtic Sea until the breeding season is over. This gives bass some much needed protection, and allowing this species to spawn should see the post-2010 decline stop and bass numbers hopefully recover. It has also been encouraging to hear that the amount of money anglers fishing for bass has been mentioned in terms of protecting stocks - people seem to be realising that the recreational angling industry raises a lot more money than commercial fishing operations, and catches far fewer fish in the process.
EU bass measures
World Fishing & Aquaculture, 27th January 2015
The European Commission has announced new measures to avert the collapse of declining bass stocks and implemented an emergency ban on fishing stocks during the spawning season which runs up until the end of April. It said that this will be complemented by further measures to help ensure that all those who fish bass make a balanced and fair contribution towards saving the stock.
Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for the Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, said:
"The impact of this stock collapsing would be catastrophic for the livelihoods of so many fishermen and coastal communities."
The ban on pelagic trawling of the stock will remain in place until 30 April 2015 and will apply to stocks in the Channel, Celtic Sea, Irish Sea and southern North Sea.
Pelagic trawling is a major source of mortality and reduces spawning stock by around 25%, according to the Commission. Therefore, in order to help the bass stock recover, the Commission is currently working on a package of measures to manage both commercial and recreational fisheries more sustainably.
For recreational fishing, which accounts for 25% of bass catches, this would include a limit of three fish per day per angler. Member States would also need to set a minimum size of 42 cm so that fish are not caught, or are released, before they have reproduced.
Anglers celebrate as EU bans trawling for Bass
Total Fishing, 26th January 2015
Trawling for bass during the spawning period has been banned in a historic set of emergency measures aimed at averting a total collapse of Europe's bass stocks.
The ban on pelagic trawling - which accounts for 25% of the impact on the stock and includes the controversial method of pair trawling - will begin immediately in the Channel, Celtic sea, Irish Sea and southern North Sea and run until April 30th during which time adult bass aggregate to reproduce and are most vulnerable.
The EU is putting forward further measures to deal with the impact on bass stocks of recreational and other commercial fishing methods. For recreational bass angling the proposals include a three fish a day bag limit and an increase in the legal minimum size of bass from 36 cm to 42 cm.
The European Commission is also proposing limiting catches for other commercial bass fisheries and is working on a proposal with member states which will be taken to the Council of fisheries ministers as soon as possible.
The emergency measures have been introduced following scientific advice in June 2014 that recommended an 80% cut in catches from the previous year and confirmation that continued fishing pressure was leading to serious harm to the reproductive capacity of the stock. This is the first time that Article 12 of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy has been invoked due to "A serious threat to the conservation of marine biological resources …".
The Angling Trust and its partners at the Bass Anglers Sportfishing Society (B.A.S.S.) and European Anglers Alliance have been campaigning tirelessly for the introduction of conservation measures for bass - a crucially important recreational species and one that generates hundreds of millions of pounds and supports tens of thousands of jobs across Europe. In 2012 the Angling Trust organised a delegation to the then Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon to press the case for bass conservation measures in the face of evidence demonstrating that stocks were in trouble.
The Angling Trust will be continuing to work with the UK and the Commission to ensure that the measures to limit other commercial bass fisheries are in proportion to the new bag limit and minimum size being proposed for recreational catches. In addition the Trust will be working with the UK to agree on what additional measures the UK can take to restore the UK bass fishery.
David Mitchell, the Angling Trust's Marine Campaigns Manager, said:
"Emergency measures such as this, can last for a maximum of 12 months so it is crucial that the Commission and member states now follow through on the commitment to develop a long term bass management plan which the Angling Trust and our partners will play a key role in helping to develop. This is an historic decision for recreational fishing and hopefully represents a sea change in public policy towards marine conservation. However, there's a long way to go yet to achieve what is needed for a truly sustainable fishery."
Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust, said:
"Bass anglers have been calling for action to protect stocks for nearly a decade and it seems that the UK government and European Commission have at last acted, in the face of undeniable scientific evidence and a concerted campaign by the Angling Trust and BASS. The immediate emergency measures that have been confirmed are very welcome and the intention to follow these up with further restrictions on commercial exploitation is encouraging."
Nigel Horsman, of the Bass Anglers Sportfishing Society, said:
"This is a great day for Dicentrarchus Labrax, the fabulous european bass, and what we have been working so hard and waiting so long for. We also look forward to the production of a long term management plan for bass, which will lead to healthy stocks of all sizes of bass for the benefit of everyone who uses this stock sustainably. I would like to pay tribute to the fantastic work of everyone in the Bass Anglers Sportfishing Society (BASS) and the Angling Trust who campaigned for this for many years. The strength and breadth of that support has been invaluable in achieving this amazing result. We know that recruitment to the adult stock will be weak for the next few years, but I hope these measures will ensure that the current stock remains broadly stable until environmental conditions allow a full stock recovery, which we can cherish and then enjoy great British Bass fishing for many years to come."
Your chance to influence Inshore Fisheries
Fishing Magic, 24th January 2015
The Angling Trust is encouraging sea anglers in England to apply for positions on the committees of the Inshore Fishery & Conservation Authorities (IFCAs) which are responsible for the management and conservation of inshore fisheries resources out to six miles from the coast.
The four year term of those appointed to the committees in 2010, when the IFCAs were formed, comes to an end on 31st March 2015 and applications are now being accepted for new members to join the IFCA committees and represent the interests of local communities from 1st April 2015 onwards for up to four years.
The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is responsible for appointing members of the public to the committees who are familiar with the needs and opinions of the local fishing community or those with particular knowledge or expertise in marine environmental matters.
What will it involve if you are successful?
Being a member of an IFCA committee appointed by the MMO is a voluntary public role which will involve, amongst other things, attending meetings, representing the IFCA at other meetings and consulting with members of the community whom you represent. You will be expected to commit approximately one day per month to the IFCA.
What will you get out of it if your application is successful?
In return you will be helping to ensure that the exploitation of fish stocks is carried out in a sustainable way, that the needs of anglers in the exploitation of local fish stocks are balanced against commercial fishing exploitation and that the social and economic benefits of exploiting fish stocks and other sea fisheries resources is balanced against the need to protect the marine environment. Put simply, sea angling is a hugely important part of the inshore fisheries sector and you will be responsible for making sure the government, fisheries managers and the local community know that.
Who is the MMO looking for?
The MMO is looking for candidates who have
- an active interest and involvement in their local community
- a passion for making a positive difference in their local area
- excellent communication, influencing and participation skills.
If you think this is you, or you know someone else from the sea angling community who ticks these boxes, please consider applying today or send them the details. It is important that sea anglers apply and get sufficiently represented on the IFCAs over the coming years so that sea angling is taken into account in the management of fish stocks, the designation and management of marine conservation zones and much more.
David Mitchell, Marine Campaigns Manager for the Angling Trust said:
"Ninety nine per cent of sea angling takes place within six miles of the shore where the IFCAs have responsibility for managing and conserving fish stocks. It is therefore critical that as many angers as possible apply to be committee members on their local IFCAs so that the interests of sea anglers get taken into account around the coast over the coming years."
Applications close on Monday, 2nd February 2015. More details, including a candidate information pack and application form, may be found HERE and further information is available on the MMO website HERE
The ten IFCAs are: North Western, Scilly Isles, Cornwall, Devon & Severn, Southern, Sussex, Kent & Essex, Eastern, North Eastern, and Northumberland. Links to every IFCA website can be found HERE.
Deal's largest rod and line caught cod
Reminiscences of a Deal boatman by David Chamberlain
The plaster cast made of Brian Maidment's 50 lb 14 oz cod
The morning of Saturday, 30th December, 1972, started as an overcast cold day, with a gentle north-west wind. At that time, I was working for the Walmer-based H&S (Harris and Steytler) fleet of wooden charter boats. Being a neap tide, it did not take too long to get the boats ready for the 10am launch. In those days, the anglers' charters were for six hours with the boats returning to the beach at 4pm. With a calm sea all of the craft headed out on an easterly course into Trinity Bay, two miles off Deal.
My boss, Ken Steytler, had asked me to keep an eye on another boat in his fleet, the Meranda. The Lister air-cooled diesel engine in the Meranda had been a little temperamental and in case of a breakdown I would be there, in the Norah, to tow her home. Brian Maidment was the Meranda's skipper that day and both of us, with our angling parties, anchored up in 10 fathoms (60 feet) of water.
The expected quarry for the anglers was cod. When the weather was fine there had been good catches and many anglers had descended on Deal and Walmer to enjoy the sport. Trade was brisk and Deal greatly benefited from the anglers revenue.
At half past three in the afternoon, I requested my anglers to pack up fishing and prepare for the 30 minute journey back to shore. They had had a good day's sport catching ten cod over 10 lb with lots of whiting and pouting filling the fish boxes. With the anchor on board I motored the short distance to the Meranda and enquired if the engine in Brian's boat was functioning. Brian told me that he was happy with the situation and would make his own way ashore … and that they had only caught one cod. However, when he struggled to lift the fishes head and then flank above the Meranda's gunnels, I realised that this was the largest cod that I had seen in my life.
With all the boats ashore and darkness approaching, I had another look at the cod. Brian explained that one of the anglers on board the Meranda had just eaten their lunch and, after smoking a cigarette, felt seasick. He asked the skipper if he would like to use his rod and reel until he felt better. Brian baited the hook with lug and squid and tried his luck. Little did he know that he was to capture the largest cod on rod and line ever to be seen in Deal! The fish measured 46 inches in length with a 30 inch girth and weighed in at 50 lb 14 oz.
Shortly after I had left, the photographer turned up and Brian gained overnight fame. That cod won him numerous prizes of rods, reels and even a fishing holiday in Cornwall. Brian donated the cod to Deal Council who sent it to a London taxidermist for a plaster cast to be made. The replica cod was hung in the Goodwins Bar on the end of Deal Pier with an unveiling ceremony conducted by the then Mayor and Mayoress, Alderman and Mrs Phillip Wilson-Haffenden. It was very much admired over the years until it unfortunately disappeared when the café was demolished to make way for the new restaurant.
Brian Maidment holds up Deal's largest rod and line caught cod This photograph was taken hours after capture by John Mitchell in 1972 The 50 lb 14 oz cod is displayed between the two charter boats Norah and Meranda
Bass trawl ban
Sea Fishing Magazine, 20th January 2015
The European Commission has issued a ban on pelagic trawling of sea bass during spawning season, which runs until the end of April. Yesterday's announcement is part of a package of measures aimed at averting the collapse of the declining sea bass stock.
These measures protect the stock from being targeted when at its most vulnerable; pelagic trawlers in the spawning season make up 25% of the impact on the stock. It is anticipated that the decision will be adopted and come into force before the end of the month.
Recognising that all those who fish sea bass should make a balanced and fair contribution to saving this stock, it is proposed that the pelagic trawling ban will be complemented by a number of other measures which the Commission and the countries involved - UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands - are putting together jointly. This will include measures to manage recreational fishing and limit catches of all other commercial fisheries. The Commission will work with the countries involved to finalise these measures and table a proposal to the Council in the coming weeks.
The Commission will publish full details of the measures once they are adopted.
Deal pier 2014 review
Michael Hayes, 20th January 2015
I wonder if everyone visiting Deal to fish properly appreciates what an asset the dealpier.uk website is ? Not only does it offer up-to-date catch reports, tips and access to local fishing clubs, but personal service in the form of our two local bait and tackle shops. There is nothing like local information to increase your catch rate and, talking of which, what a year we have just had !
It really got under way around February when we saw the start of an amazing thornback season. It was double figure fish from the off, the best of which was a fraction shy of 15 lb - a great fish for the pier caught by Warren Hayes, almost beating a 15+ lb fish caught by Ivan Rubin the season before. The thornbacks stayed all year which must make the pier a top ray mark, worthy of serious consideration by anglers.
The spring sprang with lots of easy fishing - dogfish, pouting and even some eels put in an appearance, as did some red mullet and gurnard. Sadly, there was a lack of mackerel and bass due to the pressure on their stocks by trawlers. Sam Cox got among the bass as only he can, but these were schoolies and not mature fish. The smooth-hounds arrived and, on a good evening tide, made their way to the pier, peeler crab always the killer bait.
I'm guessing the highlight so far was the return of the codling - it's been many years since we have seen so many return and a welcome one at that. The big question is, will they stay and will they return next autumn even bigger ? Well I'm sure they'll be around a little while longer before going off to deeper water and they may return if we give them an opportunity to do so, by which I mean that, even as rod and line anglers, it's critical we do our bit in the way of conservation. It's always nice to return home with something for the table, but something that's annoying me in the angling press is the rows of dead codling! It's simple - keep killing them and they won't return, not just next autumn but ever ! Take what you will honestly eat, not trophies for people to look at. Better still, take a picture of your catch - it lasts longer.
Talking of pictures, there's always the chance that you'll appear online or in the press, like many of the anglers on the pier. Examples include a great short film on YouTube showing a thornback being caught and the amazing picture of Jay from Deal with his double thornback catch on one hook. Only last week a film crew from Sky Sports were filimng on the pier. And Warren Hayes is off to Norway with the sea angling team so you never know …
The pier continues to give great value for money so make the most of it. Fred and Dean will always be there to advise and provide all you need so use them and remember to order your bait from them before you set off. And they'll be there for a long time … as, hopefully, will the fish. Return your catch and take home a picture - it captures your day and the magic behind it for ever. And you my be lucky to share a story or two with the members of the ugly bunch ! And maybe even start your own fishing team …
Spring tide damages lower lower deck of Pier
East Kent Mercury, Thursday 15th January 2015
The lower deck of Deal Pier is closed due to storm damage. A north easterly wind on Sunday caused damage to the timber making it unsafe and was forced to close. The rest of the pier is open as usual. Pier attendant Chris Burrows said:
"In the early hours of the morning, the spring tide meant a few of the deck timbers were being smashed to pieces. There's a few timbers out and also an area where we have concrete and the concrete has been broken."
Mr Burrows explained that the area has to be closed until a scheduled council contractor from DDC can come out and make a safety assessment and fix it.
"It's got to be done by a small boat so it has to be calm enough."
As the stormy weather continued over the weekend, with strong winds and rain, it is not known when the pier will be fixed.
Storm damages the Pier's lower deck
Report updated by Dean Curry, Friday 9th January 2015
The lower deck and D&WAA cabin have been extensively damaged by wave action caused by strong north-easterly winds on Sunday, 28th December and the lower deck is now closed until further notice pending completion of repairs.
The good news is that the upper deck remains open producing good numbers of sizeable codling and whiting.
The Chamberlain cod challenge
Dave Chamberlain, 8th January 2015
Dave Chamberlain challenges any angler to beat his record of 33 cod caught from Deal Pier in three hours. The prize is a bottle of whiskey. He concedes that his record was set during the 1960s in the heyday of cod catches.
Bass anglers urged to flood EU commissioner with emails
Sea Fishing Magazine, 6th January 2015
The Angling Trust has begun the new year battling for bass with a fresh call to anglers urging them to flood the EU commissioner with emails supporting the call by the UK for emergency measures to save threatened bass stocks.
In December, the UK government called on the EU Commission to implement emergency measures to try and prevent a collapse in bass stocks following the failure of the recent Fisheries Council meeting to reach an agreement on bass conservation measures. The Commission has the power to introduce emergency measures for a six month period should the EU Member States be unable to reach agreement.
Angling Trust chief executive Mark Lloyd has written on behalf of the Trust to fisheries commissioner Karmenu Vella saying:
"There is no doubt that given the parlous state of bass stocks emergency measures are now the right thing to do. As the national representative body for angling in England we urge you, most strongly, to use the emergency measures open to the Commission, through Article 12 of the CFP regulation (1380/2013), to close Area VIIe, to all targeted trawling for bass from 1st January 2015 until 1st May 2015 in order to reduce fishing pressure on this year's spawning aggregations. Furthermore, ahead of the implementation of minimum conservation reference sizes, we urge you to increase a minimum legal size to be above the 42 cm breeding size so any new adult entrants to the stocks do at least get a chance to breed and replace themselves before they can be legitimately harvested. We would also like to see a complete phasing out of destructive pair trawling for bass and a move to creating a sustainable line caught only fishery."
To view the Angling Trust's letter to the commissioner in full, click HERE
Other EU Member states had to submit comments about the UK proposal by 6th January and a decision on whether to adopt these measures with immediate effect is expected from the Commission sometime after 14th January.
Angling Trust campaign coordinator Martin Salter added:
"Time is running out for bass stocks. Whilst politicians dither and dally the pair trawlers are busy at work hoovering up what is left of the spawning stocks of bass right now. In the face of scientific advice stating a need for an 80 per cent reduction in bass catches to avoid a stock collapse the deliberate targeting of this winter's spawning aggregations has to be stopped by any means possible."
In a mail out to members, the Angling Trust says:
It is vital that we show strong support for these emergency measures and we are asking Angling Trust members to email the Commissioner, Karmenu Vella, with a short message of support. Feel free to cut and paste some of the Angling Trust letter into your own emails. We need your help to save our bass. Please get typing today!
The email address is: email@example.com
British bass protection
World Fishing, 31st December 2014
The Angling Trust has stepped up its bid to enforce the unilateral protection of British bass stocks and accused the UK government of failing to secure an agreement to protect bass at the European Fisheries Council meeting.
To make matters worse, the trust said, Ministers have claimed to have secured "a fair deal for fisheries", despite the fact that they have failed to take on any of the measures in response to the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas' (ICES) recent call for an immediate 80% reduction in bass landings in order to avoid a total stock collapse.
It now wants an urgent meeting with the UK Fisheries Minister George Eustice to discuss a timescale for the introduction of national bass conservation measures including introducing domestic measures on bass minimum landing sizes, more nursery areas and increased protection for estuaries.
Stinky Fishing - beachcasting bait tips
Fishelbows 31st December 2014
On Samphire Hoe Saul Page is doing a spot of fishing using light gear and some seriously smelly spray-on additive, finding out which flavour of Stinky Stuff will have the Lynx effect on the unsuspecting wrasse and pouting. Will it be the kanny krill, the perfect peeler crab or plain rag worm?