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In the April issue of Sea Angler. One angler wrote in describing his first competition at Dungeness, where he witness the senseless slaughter of 400-500 fish, just so they could be weighed at the end of the competition. I travelled hundreds of miles to fish at a well known mark in Norfolk along with other anglers, only had 2 baby dabs between us, in ideal fishing conditions. I wondered for months why the fishing has been so poor. After much research, now I know the answer, the mark holds regular matches. I no longer fish locations where regular matches are held.

We should do more to conserve fish stock. We don’t need matches to promote sea fishing, health fish stock is the best form of promoting sea fishing.
 

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This is a profoundly interesting thread. Is this denudation of fish possible in the short term?

My feeling as an angler who WOULD never enter a competition has always been, get on with it, whatever turns you on etc. i.e. it's for those who like more of a competition than just having the sea, shore and the Fish as a challenge. I also like to fish either alone or with just one or two people about. Still if you like a crowded beach carry on!

Back to the thread! It seems to me that it would be possible in the short term to have this 'competition affect'. However the venue is chosen and re-chosen, presumably, because it has invariably fished well often in the past, i.e. as an annual event? It would be interesting to hear from anglers who regularly fish competition venues. Do they fish badly following a big comp.? I.e. a week/month/6 weeks later??

Logic would suggest however that if the competition effect actually happens that organisers would be constantly looking for fresh venues and would never fish anywhere more than two years on the trot - first year good, second year no fish anymore!?

It also does not explain the absence of fish in venues I fish...... where ever they are!
 

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I have to agree with Swelleyman. There may be something in the competition effect in the short term, but it does not account for catches seemingly to be down all over. Another point that occurs to me is that charter skippers tend to go repeatedly to the same wrecks and features that produce good results for their customers. Why aren't these fished out.

No, I cannot see that fishing with rod and line, no matter how intense, can have that much of a detrimentental effect on fish stocks. It has to be down to commercial overfishing and other environmental factors.

Fred
 

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In my little part of the country, I would say that recreational sea angling has reduced in the 30 years since I started. I see less people on the rocks than I used to. There are also less charter boats operating out of local ports than there used to be. Also, a once successful tackle shop closed down due to lack of business. There are even less club competitions than there used to be, and one of the few match events was cancelled last year for lack of interest.

The fishing in this time though has dramatically worsened. I see smaller fish and less of them than when I started. (Presumably some anglers have given up due to this fact)

Based on the fact that there is less fish and they are smaller, and less anglers seem to be fishing for them (at least in my opinion and observation) then I can only assume that the reducing fish size and numbers must be more due to commercial fishing pressure.

The North Sea east of Aberdeen has one of the major cod breeding grounds - it is well known about, and is even mapped on the internet. We even know that the cod will be spawning during march and april. It is so simple for commercial fishers to clean up during these times, at known spots. It is no wonder the quotas are caught so quickly - we know where the fish are going to be. The 5 or 6 other spawning grounds around the uk are equally well mapped (on the internet again) so it is no wonder there are less fish. We don't even let them spawn before we process them.
 

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when I used to fish for my local club ( wsmsaa ) we never ever intentionally killed fish, we used to have them measured to make sure they were within the required size limit before we could put them in our bucket which was filled with water, some of us even had those little battery air pumps to help the fish stayed alive..

Once the match had finished we wieghed in and then all fish would be returmed back to the sea, unless someone had a nice cod or something then they could take it home but that didnt happen very often.

I would never say that matches were used to promote fishing at all but in our club it definatly taught us how to catch the fish by sharing fishing methods, how to handle the fish so you do not damage them or yourself and the main point was to return them alive at the end of the match, So mainly it taught us to respect the fish!!

Again I would have to agree with the reason of such low fish stocks being commercial fishing, Most undersize fish that are caught are dead when returned to the water and if they do keep the ones just inside the limit, the just intend to use it as fertilizer.


Tight lines

Mike
 
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