The letter below was written by the CEO of the Association of IFCA’s on behalf of and with the agreement of all 10 IFCA’s. (i.e. it is not anyone’s personal opinion, CEO of the AIFCA or anyone else, rather an agreed joint view from the IFCA’s). We think this is a significant step forward, particularly the second para on page 2 (ignore the threefold increase in landings). BASS welcomes this letter from the IFCA’s (while not necessarily agreeing with all of it).
BASS representative Nigel Horsman spent an hour and a half, on the 20th December, with Stephen Bolt, discussing the letter and the bass mls in general. Apart from issues like the threefold increase that doesn’t actually reflect MMO stats, Nigel reported that:
“We spent most time discussing a staged approach starting at 40cm, vs an immediate one off increase as we (BASS) suggest. The staged approach starting at 40cm appears to be the preferred route of the IFCA’s (and maybe, therefore, the commercial industry) and I think Stephen expected to persuade me that this was best. Fortunately he was open minded and as a professional marine biologist, understanding of scientific facts and argument. At the end, he said our case (for immediately going to the ‘one chance to breed’ mls) was “convincing”. However, please note Stephen represents the views of the IFCA’s, not his own personal opinions, so we still need to persuade IFCA’s and others of that. I’ll post more about that case over Christmas. It was a very useful and productive meeting.”
Defra have confirmed to Stephen that their formal review of bass mls is underway. He has not yet received a reply from Richard Benyon.
We hope that people realise this is about winning lots of little battles to get us where we want to be and that our arguments are winning arguments outside the bass RSA fraternity.