Bass Anglers March In Cornwall, But The Minister Has Left Town

150 anglers gathered in Camborne today to protest against the changes in bass regulations introduced this year. We weren’t protesting against change: we were protesting about the lack of change for our bass AND the utterly unfair balance of the changes made (for details why we are so livid look here: Cornish Bass Protest )

It was an early start from Bristol for a 10 am meet. Three of us from Bristol picked up two fellow BASS members from South Wales at the motorway then raced west to voice our dispeasure.

Bass Protest

At the demonstration I talked to both friends and strangers on the march. Many were Cornish, others from Devon, and a few from places as far flung as Kent and North Wales. Sea anglers are normally solitary and apolitical creatures yet here we all were driven out by our anger. Had so many sea anglers (let alone bass anglers) ever assembled like this to protest – none of us thought so. With high held banners and sense of shared injustice we headed en masse to express our displeasure at the constituency office of George Eustic the local MP and the UK Fisheries Minister.

Bass Protest

At Eustace’s office however it was obvious there was nobody home – although he knew we were coming given Malcom Gilbert (the protest organiser) had visited over 3 weeks before to inform them -plus many anglers unable to march had written….I guess if nothing else,  the minister is cute enough to know how to avoid unwanted photo opportunities.

Bass Protest

The West Cornwall MP did however put out a statement on his Facebook page. Sadly his words only further demonstrated he really doesn’t get what we are saying still! His statement indicated he believed we were marching as we wanted to catch more bass this year: not because the restrictions he had agreed to were unfair to anglers AND insufficient to halt the stock decline. Given the numerous letters so many of us have written I find this misunderstanding hard to understand. Either the Minister just doesn’t listen or he really is a fool.

Bass Protest

So we went home angry to be ignored but pleased with what we had achieved. The fact that a local protest organised by The Cornish Federation of Sea anglers (hardly the biggest or the most radical of organisations) could attract 150 people prepared to give up their Saturday is amazing. Yet those of us present were certainly just the tip of the iceberg given how notoriously apolitical anglers normally are. If you put these facts in the context of the whole of the UK and those seeking our vote should take note.

Bass Protest

Much publicity was also generated from this event. Malcolm Gilbert had been interviewed (for the second item up ) on the SW evening news as well as having done several regional radio interviews. There were also press photographers and reporters present today and further coverage is in the offing. With each report greater the awareness of this stitch-up grows outside the sea angling world. Surely soon politians will properly realise ignoring the science and the economics is not politically smart.

Bass Protest

As we left many were talking about further protests in other parts of the country. For when and where, watch this space….

Bass Protest Logo

A Fair Deal For Bass And Anglers

Words and pictures: Matt Spence

9 Comments
  1. In years to come I will be able to tell other sea anglers when they talk about this day, “I know, because I was there”.

  2. well done you will all go back to work monday when the comerciall fisherman is looking for money at sea to put food in his kids mouths and pay his bills 150 out of millions of you is a dismal turnout

  3. Think Mike B is missing the point. If you keep catching Bass at the rate you are then youre kids won’t have a fishing industry. Look at the Science pall instead of the recreational anglers taking the blame for youre outdated neaderthal netting methods!

  4. I just wish to say ‘thank you’, to all the guys and gals who were on the march yesterday. I for one am most grateful to you, for the efforts you made on behalf of all of us anglers that have hope of a future for the Bass as a species.

    Cheers
    Alan
    Great Yarmouth

  5. Yeah and I have heard of an angler taking six fish home after one session, he fishes every week and saying they have to catch me to stop me. SIX fish is GREED he is as guilty as the commercial fisherman for the decline in stocks. Anglers get your act together before blaming others.
    Paul

  6. Fairness for anglers and bass and illegal fishing are completely seperate issues Paul.

    That angler is fishing illegally. If he represents all anglers then any of the commercials who fish illegally ( whether or not they get caught) represent all the commercial sector if you follow your logic.

  7. Thank you all of those anglers who turned out. I am sorry I could not be there. I did write to my MP and give a detailed account of why this situation is so undemocratic.
    Geoffrey Cox MP has now replied to my letter and has given a full reply. He agrees the restrictions could cost the leisure industry thousands of pounds. He has spoken with the Minister since the debate but concludes that nothing can be done as hands are tied by the EU.
    The EU acted on behalf of bass stock and it was George Eustice who negotiated the loophole for the commercial boys. Surely the Government could change this?

  8. It seems that someone within the government has decided that all wild sea bass are now effectively owned by 30 or so large businesses and the sea is now a large commercial fish farm.

  9. Could George Eustace the local MP and the UK Fisheries Minister be biased in anyway due to his family owning Trevaskis Farm Restaurant Hayle which lists having its own fishmongers, or am I wrong thinking that the majority of MP’s are corrupt.

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