[We quote below, a letter which appeared in the ‘Western Morning News’ on 21 April 2007. We are grateful to the Editor of the Western Morning News and the writer of the letter, Mr John Brooks of Redruth, for allowing BASS to publish the content on this web site.]
The weird logic of fish management
Commercial fishermen were given licences to catch fish, and now they have caught most of the fish in the sea I see it is proposed to charge anglers for the privilege of not catching fish from the sea as they have already been caught by those given a free licence to catch fish for sale.
This is clearly an extension of the logic behind the management of our fisheries over the past 30 years. First the Government gives those commercial fishermen who sell fish a free licence, then undermines their efforts by allowing foreign vessels grandfather rights to fish to a different set of rules.
Now that there are so few fish left that commercial fishermen have been decimated, like the fish stocks, there is obviously a need to raise extra revenue from the sea. Thus it is government logic now to tax those who fish for pleasure, not profit, in their attempt to catch the fish that are no longer there.
The proceeds from the licence fees must surely be put to good use in employing a new category of civil servants to police the activities of those who seek the non-existent fish in the sea to prevent the over-exploitation of the resource that is no longer available.
Perhaps the now-redundant commercial fishermen could be redeployed to this new role as they have all the qualifications and experience necessary not to enforce rules and regulations that are no longer needed as there are no fish stocks left.
The next logical step must surely be to tax all those who sit on a beach, as they obviously have as much chance of catching a fish as does an angler, seeing that there are no fish left to catch. It has been said there is a fine line between an idiot sitting on the beach and an angler. The above proposals would seem a very good way of removing this distinction in the interest of anti-discrimination practices.