The European Union are currently carrying out a public consultation on the Common Fisheries Policy, probably the most important legislation affecting our sea fish stocks.
We are encouraging all anglers to make a response at this time, and have provided the following suggestions
For many years sea anglers have recognised the damage being done to fish stocks and to their sport by unsustainable commercial fishing. Responsibility for fish stock management is increasingly devolving to the EU within a policy framework called the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The actual decision making element of the CFP is the Council of Ministers on which our Fisheries Minister, Elliot Morley MP represents the UK.
The CFP is up for review. A 40 page green paper has been published examining many issues relevant to the CFP. Most importantly, it publicly acknowledges the many failures of previous fisheries management, including the lack of stakeholder involvement.
There are two opportunities to contribute to the debate surrounding the review process. Firstly, MAFF are consulting widely so that representations can be taken into account in preparation for a major debate in the Fisheries Council on the 18th June 2001. Secondly, direct representation can be made to the EU Fisheries Commission by September.
The MAFF consultation period ends at the end of May 2001, so time is critical.
The CFP Review provides a chance for recreational sea anglers to have their say and to hopefully lead to a CFP, that in future, recognises the rights of recreational sea anglers and associated industries, which is not the case at present.
It is vitally important that each member writes at least one letter in support of sea angling if our message is to get through. Our last letter writing campaign, on the off-shore fishery, was successful because so many of you wrote letters. We need to repeat that success.
The BASS Restoration Committee has prepared the attached list of bullet points which we believe to be most important and which we hope will provide you with enough information to form the basis of your letter.
BASS endorses the view that recreational sport anglers are stakeholders in the common fish resource.
BASS maintains that the economic and social benefits provided through recreational sportfishing are significant. A growing body of evidence, both in the UK and elsewhere, indicates the economic return of recreational sea angling especially with regards to angling tourism in coastal areas, exceeds that of the commercial fishing industry.
The aims and objectives of BASS are consistent with the basic principles of the Common Fisheries Policy in that both wish to see the provision of a healthy and sustainable resource.
BASS believe the current state of fish stock depletion is due to the lack of effective input on policy and management decisions from stakeholders who place the resource above the exploiter.
BASS wish to see recreational sportfishing be given fair representation in matters of fishery policy and management. We believe this would drive progress to a more sustainable and viable resource.
On an environmental dimension, BASS maintains that recreational sportfishing when compared with the commercial fishing industry:
- has less harmful impact on the resource in terms of numbers, selectivity and overall conservation
- has less harmful impact on the environment in terms of lethal by-catch, physical environmental destruction and food chain disruption.
BASS wish to see the UK Government prioritise the establishment of policy for the integration and development of recreational sportfishing within the new Common Fisheries Policy.
Please write a letter and send it to:
If you live in England
Gareth Baynham-Hughes, Sea Fisheries Conservation Division, Room 423b, Nobel House,17,Smith Square, London SW1P 3JR
If you live in N. Ireland.
Dept of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dundonald House, Stormont, Belfast BT4 3SB
If you live in Wales.
National Assembly of Wales, Agriculture Dept., Cardiff
If you live in Scotland.
Scottish Executive Rural Affairs Dept., Pentland House, 47 Robb’s Loan, Edinburgh, EH14 1TY
Copies of your letters should be sent to your MP and to all MEPs who are members of the Fisheries Parliament. (details below). If you know other anglers outside of BASS or anyone in a sea angling related business, please ask them to make representation in order to promote the inclusion of the recreational sea angling sector as direct user stakeholders whose interests should weigh far more heavily than is currently the case.
UK MEPs who are members of the Fisheries Parliament
Mrs Elspeth Attwool, 4 Clifton Terrace, Edinburgh EH12 5DR
Mr Nigel Farage, 1 Darwin Villas, Single St., Berrys Green, Westerham, Kent TN 3AA
Mr Glyn Ford, 26B Clifton Hill, Exeter EX1 2DJ
Mr Struan Stevenson, 14 Links Place, Edinburgh EH6 6EZ
Mr Ian Hudghton, 70 Rosemount Place, Aberdeen AB2 4XJ
Mr James Nicholson, 3 Glengall St., Belfast BT12 5AE
Mrs Catherine Stihler, Unit 3, Albany Business Centre, Gardener’s St., Dunfermline.