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Key fishing grounds to stay open


Vital North Sea, West of Scotland, and Irish Sea cod fishing grounds are to stay open under a European fisheries deal hammered out in Brussels.

Despite grim warnings from scientists about the state of dwindling stocks, European Commission plans which the Government said would devastate the UK fleet have been withdrawn.

Fishermen even escape a cut in the current 15 days a month they are allowed to put to sea for cod - as long as they use nets with an agreed minimum mesh size to let the tiddlers through to boost stock revival hopes.

Fisheries Minister Ben Bradshaw hailed the deal as a good balance between the needs of the industry and of conservation.

But conservation groups expressed "shock" that the Commission had backed down from the much tougher measures urged by marine scientists worried about collapsing fish stocks.

On the other hand, Government critics said the deal was not generous enough to UK fishermen leading the drive to restore the drastically-depleted cod fishery.

Mr Bradshaw tried to appease conservationists by insisting the UK was in favour of closing cod grounds in future "in principle" if stocks do not recover and if the scientific evidence justifies it.

But he said the UK fleet, and particularly the Scottish fleet, had endured more hardship in the last two years as part of a targeted cod recovery plan which had delivered a 56% in cod mortality already.

"The UK fishing industry has made the biggest contribution to recovery and I am pleased that this has been reflected in the agreement," he said, adding: "We welcome the fact that plans for closed areas have been withdrawn and that we have managed to maintain the number of days fishermen can fish as long they use 120- millimetre mesh nets."

Mr Bradshaw and his Scottish counterpart, Ross Finnie, had argued for no turning of the screw on hard-pressed fishing fleets compared with the regime agreed under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) last year.
 

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I don't think the fishing industry will ever stop fighting for the right to catch fish until it is too late and they are beyond the recovery point of most fish.

As a youngster, I could cast less distance and missed many bights, but cannot remember blanking very often. In the winter back then, a couple of Cod were guaranteed off the rocks, and from a boat you just knew you were going to have a good day.

Nowadays I can fish the same areas and blank often - I consider being lucky if I get a couple of small Pollack to at least keep the interest going.

As far as closing areas down - I think it is a superb idea. Not that I am any expert - but I do remember seeing a program on TV about how the fishing industry in New Zealand had desimated the fishing grounds. The government stepped in and totally banned all fishing vessels from a large area of the sea (something like 10,000 sq miles). This is only 100 x 100 miles in real terms.

Within about 5 years, the fish had recovered so well that all the fishing boats that were allowed to fish right up to the edge of the exclusion zone were improving their profits, as the overspill of fish from the zone was good. The zone remains closed to all commercial fishing - but still allows absolute certainty that the fish will never struggle for survival - no matter how much the boats trawl. It is a simple thing to close part of a sea to fishing - particularly any breeding grounds - with GPS these days it must be easy - like a tachometer for boats.

In short, fishing in the UK is not substainable on its own - it is being run as a rape it until its all gone type business. With total areas banned for boats - at least then we know the fish will recover- they will also allow a managed industry to develop rather than the rape and lets see in a few years if we were wrong type mentality.

There is a lot of data at http://www.defra.gov.uk/fish/fishindx.htm if you like to read.
 

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I have been in negotiations in the past with the commercial fishing industry, & the then M.A.F.F. mainly over the control/abolition/limiting of Nylon Monofilament Gill Nets & their effects on the bass population.
I used to get well pissed off whenever we got around the table with the M.A.F.F. scientific advisers & the representatives of the commercial fishermen, who used to claim that they were "the farmers of the sea" & wanted the same sort of consideration & treatment that the agricultural industry was getting!
M.A.F.F. used to take this statement as a foregone conclusion, I used to point out on a regular (& very loud) basis, that a farmer only reaps what he sows, & that the commercial fishing industry was sowing only the seeds of destruction.
I was about as popular with them, as was a turd in a swimming pool, I had lots of verbals, threats to burn my house, threats to ram my boat when it was seen etc, all the usual crap, however as with our proposals over gill-nets nothing came of it, & eventually they found something else to defend themselves over, & the gill-net issue went away, despite it being the biggest single influence on fishing since the invention of the steam engine!
It is fairly obvious to anybody who can read, that they are CONTINUALLY defending themselves, & even the dumbest of people must know that there is no smoke without fire. Fishing technology has grown at a rate that far outstrips the fish populations ability to cope, the TAC (Takeable Annual Catch) on all species is far too high! The ASY (Annual Sustainable Yield) is well in excess of what it can sustain. Today I heard some commercial rep on the radio, say that North Sea Cod & Haddock catches were as high as they had ever been!
Oil is being produced at a consistent rate, & land is holding at a steady price, but they aint making any more of either, when its gone its gone!!
Like any other resource, if you take in a year what grows in a year it remains stable but gets no bigger, if you take more, it depletes annually until you have naff all left. Could somebody else explain this to these so called businessmen!
Why does somebody claim he is going to sea every year at a loss, why doesn't he sell his asset & invest the proceeds in something that doesn't make a loss? They must think that we all came up the Tawe on the back of a swans neck!!!!!!!
Sorry for tirrade lads but this subject has wound me up for years.
blueskip
 

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you only have to look to iceland, norway and the faroes to see what a well managed fishery can produce .if i can remember right the yanks and cannadians closed large areas of the grand banks to fisherman for a number years,because of the dwindiling cod catches and when they were allowed back the fishery had fully recovered.that shows that goverment and fisherman can work together when they want to.
but back to ourselves i am afraid that spineless politicians who only care about what the latest fad is at the moment and the so called farmers of the seas who know **** all about farming and are only interrested in what they can catch today and stuff tommorrow are a mix that will never agree on the best way to manage the fish stocks.
if we dont close certain ares of the seas to constant rape there will be no fishing worth talking about. a good place to start would be the irish sea and bristol channel? if we dont close areas down then at least ban any commercial activity within 2.5 miles of the coast then at least what juvinile fish that are thereare given a chance to grow.
blueskip dont worry about those idiots who threatend you over your veiws because pepole like that are just spineless worms and not worth a 2nd thought.
if any of the commercial boys read this and dont like my veiws then TOUGH because untill they actually see what the future holds for OUR fish stocks and start to act in an intelligent way they are not worth bothering with.
 

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Expecting commercial fishermen to look after fish stocks is like asking a goat to look after the strawberry patch; forget it.
In a nut shell they take what ever they can get whenever they can get away with it regardless of cost to the environment. This applies no matter where they come from; Scots, English, Irish, Cornish, Spanish, American whatever. They are all a bunch of pirates!
And how do you deal with pirates?

phew that felt good! lol

Actually I don't really care what they close so long as they close it as soon as possible and are careful when before they reopen it.

I saw a tiny marine reserve in Spain in 2003 on the Costa Brave. Not much more than a couple of rocks about half a mile of the coast. It's teaming with fish and the tourists pay just to go out in a boat and feed bread to the fish. ´there are all sorts of bream and some big ones as well. But a few hundred yards further, no park, no fish. This took about five years to build up, so I'm told.
Like I said, the sooner the better and we mustn't be intimidated.
 

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I realy can't understand the media, here we have a huge crisis in the seas around our island and all the media want to talk about blair and brown arguing, I and I'm pretty sure the rest of the country don't give a damm if they beat the crap out of each other as long as things get done, with the medias flair for making mountains out of molehills they would sell more papers if they made more of what is realy wrong in the seas. all thay have is to tell the truth they don't have to dress it up or bend it just tell it as it is and the party that puts forward a solem promise to ban fishing in certain areas and set aside areas for rsa only can charge me £20 per year and get my vote,

A true story this. 4 years ago two local rod and line bass fishermen bought bigger boats and fitted trawls they trawled for bass and wiped out a huge area which had kept 23 rod and line boats going all year for years, most of the skippers sold up. for the last two years the two trawlers have had to resort to rod and line fishing again around features and wrecks to make a living, their nets useless it just goes to show that these guys don't even give a s--t about their own kind let alone anybody else,

lets have a 10 mile exclusion zone all round the uk for all trawlers except shellfishing, potters. sod 'em.
 

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We all seem to be of a similar mind about the country's fish stocks, & it seems to be from all parts of the country as well! I thought it was just us in Wales who were "whinging", but it seems pretty general.
Gusangus has a very relevant tale to tell about the two former "rod & line anglers" who went commercial. They probably had a better knowledge of the movements of the bass than the commercial fishermen, & put it to good use when they had the chance.
This has happened in Swansea over the years, anglers have turned into fishmongers overnight, & with their knowledge of bass movements & timings they have made a killing, whilst depleting what used to be a vast shoal. I can remember 25yrs ago chugging down to the Worms Head early on a summer's morning, to get there by first light.
On the right morning's, the shoal of bass hitting the bait fish & mackerel would be a GOOD 5 acres (or more) in circumference, there must have been millions in it. If you were lucky you would get half a dozen before they dissappeared!
The last time I went down the Worm at first light, there were 4 boats down there, & you had to be careful not to cast into the boat the other side of the shoal!!! 30yds across at best, it had been depleted by about 90%! That was 8yrs ago, & I haven't been since, but I know of several of these "anglers" who are still cramming every bass they can get into either Swansea Market or their local chinese resturaunt!!!
Sorry lads but before we challenge the commercial industry on overfishing we have a lot of cleaning up to do in our own house.
When was the last time you saw a 3lb bass, or 3lb codling returned?
blueskip
 

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abot 15 or 20 yrs ago maff asked all the fishing clubs to send a few people along to a meeting they had aranged, to put forward ideas on how to save our breeding grounds around britain most of the welsh clubs that met put forward the saving plan that new zeland and austrailia had done witch was to make an artificial reef out of old car and lorry tyres maff said this was not the way to go as it would force the local boat neters to go out to deeper water which their boats were not fit for. in other words someone is geting a good backhand and bugger the rest and so many of the clubs stoped financial support they used to give to them
 

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IT's not only the cod and bass that have be desimated . In other areas flounders and smouthound have be netted at a rate of over a ton a day and used for potbait or dryed out for fish meal for the garden. So why cant someone out there get a grip and use the small undersize fish caught in trawel nets , instead of going back dead .i know it doesn't stop the over fishing but it could save other stocks .(with these two tipes of fish our sport has done alot to use these fish as sport fish with most being returned , for some nobby to us in a lobster pot).doesn't make sence.
In my life time i've seen the clam stocks get all but wiped out in the river Itchen and for many years theres been no boats claming in the river, until last year .when i fished there at the end of last year i saw two trawlers going round and round . In past years there used to be any thing upto 25 boats in the river and then for years none.
I've also been told that there have been boats taken out of action in other areas because thay can't run at a proffit . There quoters have been bought up by Spainish factory ships . These factory ships have bought up lots of small boat quoters and run of one massive factory ships with nets amile across , fishing in and around british waters .(european waters now)
What chance do we stand ???????
With many other countrys doing more for sea fishing than ours ,it seems as if someone needs a good kick right up the arse!!!
someone said something about farming the sea but as far as i know they don't leave there feilds fallow every few years, nore do they rotate there crops every year or even plant knew seeds at sea .
We battled against norway in the cod wars . what for ? ow yes so europe could rape us some more .SAVE THE STOCKS !!!!!
 

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Morning dai.
There is not much point worrying about the Spanish. They're only doing the same as the British fishermen; grabbing all they can. And you can be assures that British owned boats are plundering Spanish waters.
The fisery policies in Europe are not raping the UK if you follow the press it's the UK that is forcing these stupid quota systems and promoting the further devastation of fish stocks. Many countries bordering the North Sea wanted various cod bans to come into effect as of 2005 and where blocked by the British. On top of this we have the Fishermen who always bleat about their hands being tied by the quota system so that they have to kill the fish. In Norway if the un-landable bycatch exceeds 10% they have to go and fish else where. And if they get caught, and they do, its by by boat!

By the way it was Iceland that kicked us off their cod grounds; and quite right too.

Rob
 
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