But whilst local branches of Wildlife Trusts, environmental NGOs, even commercial fishermen, have taken the time to read and analyse the proposals, submit responses, and indeed get along to the open meetings, relatively few from the RSA sector have made the effort to follow the various consultations or to get involved.
It's ironic that that those who have in the past been willing to leave it all up to others, now turn on the few that have bothered.
(I doubt that many who might have been tempted to get involved in future will bother, having seen the criticisim heaped upon those that have. Nothing specific, just vague rumblings and ramblings reeking of paranoia).
If you want to ensure your views are directly taken into account in future, you are going to have to get involved in the work, read and understand the proposals, assess the likely impact, put in well-argued responses, not only putting forward your point of view, but understanding and countering the arguments of those whose have different ideas, and making time to get along to those meetings.
Nobody told you about them?
But for those who want to keep an eye out, there's plenty of information on the DEFRA website ( see http://www.defra.gov...ult/current.htm ) and the SACN website, linking to pages giving details of proposals, how to respond, where the meetings will be etc.
Ask to be put on DEFRA's mailing list so that you get details of future proposals affecting fisheries, and the marine bill proposals, together with notices of regional meetings held to discuss all of the issues.
And we have put in quite a bit of effort, persuading DEFRA to target information not just at NGOs and commercial fishing organisations and businesses, but at fishing clubs, associations and businesses etc, so a lot more people should be aware in future.
Another way of recieving information about proposals, forums and workshops etc is to get on the mailing list of the Coastal Management for Sustainability (CMS) http://www.coastms.co.uk/
You can get on their list by going here:
A lot of what you are sent might not at first look seem relevant (eg flood defence etc), but a lot is.
Some of the conferences need to be paid for unfortunately, but it's often at these conferences that ideas are floated and projects are begun which will impact on angling, and when no on goes along from angling because of the cost, it's often difficult to get on the bandwaggon later, or to change the course that everyone is already set upon, and we see that particularly with regard to Marine Protected Areas.
But then again, there are public consultations and conferences which are free, and where ideas are chewed over and generated, and opinions formed, and its important that anglers and angling organisations get people along to them.
It's not all about 2 or 3 people getting together with a handful of civil servants and secretly deciding things, (I suspect many would be surprised at just how many anglers do get involved).
But about joining in public debates that direct the way that DEFRA will move in future, and that is debates with a wide variety of stakeholders with different agendas some who will support the needs of RSA, others who want to see our activities more closely regulated and restricted where that is seen to have an adverse environmental effect, however spurios the argument - if nobody is around to argue against them, then the civil servants and politicians wil listen only to them).
Charging users - commercial fishermen and anglers for management of marine resources for their benefits.
Establishing Marine Protected Areas - Very popular with green organisations and NGOs.
Placing bag limits on anglers, tightening down on the take from commercial fishing - again very much driven by NGOs, some operating internationally.
Leave it up to others, depend on the few who can be bothered to get involved, and you know what happens.
The report that started this thread was produced by Hull University, at the request of DEFRA.
As far as I'm aware, no angling organisations were consulted or asked for their views.
For those who have taken the trouble to read it, very little of it covers angling, addressing all unlicensed activity that impacts on marine biodiversity, and makes recommendations
But that report will feed into the Marine Bill white paper, and if you don't like what the white paper contains, there will be further chances to make representations, particularly to your members of parliament etc, asking them speak on the proposals when they are put before the house, not just those that you don't like, but the kind of things that you want to see in their, that will make your angling prospects better in future, allowing the UK to obtain maximum economic and social benefit from propoer management of our national Recreational Sea Fishereis, whether that be for bass or for cod or ..................
Edited by Leon Roskilly, 26 December 2006 - 01:35 PM.