“Catching a fish and keeping it for your pot is not a crime” – until next week

Recreational Bass fishing may be banned completely next week in Brussels

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Sheryll Murray starts debate off and clashes with  Ben Bradshaw

Scott Mann, then Derek Thomas 

A ruling in Brussels next week may stop what Scott Mann has called ‘one of the last great hunter gatherer pursuits in this country of catching a fish and cooking it for your dinner”

Scott Mann MP North Cornwall

Scott Mann, Conservative MP for North Cornwall used the annual fisheries debate in Parliament yesterday (Thursday 7th Dec) to warn that Brussels is about to stop any recreational landings of sea bass, already limited to one fish a year per angler.

“Catching a fish and keeping it for your pot is not a crime” the ex postman told the house.

The Fisheries Minister George Eustice MP will be headed to Brussels on Sunday for the December meetings that decide quotas for the year.

One specific proposal causing consternation in angling communities across the UK is to ban all recreational catches of sea bass, leaving catches only to commercial fishermen.

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Tory MP for Broxbourne Charles Walker couldn’t believe what he was hearing,

“It is simply madness to suggest that someone in a West End restaurant can sit down to eat wild bass caught by a commercial fisherman but one of my constituents on a day out to the beach can’t keep a single fish they catch off the beach or from a boat. it is simply not tenable”

The suggestion being made is for recreational anglers to only be allowed to fish for bass 6 months of the year but all fish must be put back alive (so called ‘catch and release’)and the other 6 months there will be no recreational fishing for bass allowed at all. Recreational fishing is a growing and important part of the economy in his constituency, Mr Mann said.

“The problem doesn’t rest with anglers when hook and line boats can catch four tons at once” Scott Mann told the house. The continued problem of discarded fish is continuing to harm stocks and it’s hoped this practice will be stopped once and for all in UK waters once we leave the EU.

Sheryll Murray told the house of an example from her constituent Mr Newman who recently caught 1000kg of bass in his trawl, worth £10,000 but had to discard much of it because of the quota system.

“When are the EU going to learn that you can’t teach fish not to swim into a trawl?” asked the south east Cornwall MP.

Scott Mann called the Bass proposals ‘ridiculous and draconian’ saying that the impact of recreational fishing on quotas was negligible. He gave an example of a fishing trip business in his constituency, Bass Go Deeper, that he said would go to the wall if the measure was brought in.

“Banning the public from fishing for a species recreationally whilst letting commercial hook and line fisheries continue is unjust and can not be allowed” he concluded

George Eustice confirmed that a UK Fisheries BIll will be introduced before next summer. Promised in the Queens speech, it will establish the UK as an independent coastal nation, enable the UK to set it’s own quotas and access rights and establish control over a 200 mile zone around our coast.

featured image by Rupert Kirkwood Kayak Fishing UK


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