You may laugh, propaganda it might be but we don't have to try very hard to make it work, DEFRA love it.
Currently, for the calculation of each nation's quota allowance from the EU TAC, anglers catches are regarded as negligible, and are included in 'natural mortality'.
Efforts by the catching sector to persuade fishery managers that the Recreational take is substantial, and therefore that limitations (bag limits) should be imposed on anglers raise the prospect that the quota available to the catching sector should be adjusted to allow for an 'angling quota'
This is how it works in a number of countries where the total allowable catch is first calculated
This TAC is then reduced by the amount that it is estimated that the recreational fishery will take (limited by bag limits and close seasons, area closures etc - bearing in mind the importance and value of the recreational sector), then what is left is assigned as quota to the catching sector (in New Zealand, the catching sector has to purchase all of their quota).
As most angling activity in the UK takes place inshore, it is the quota available to the inshore, mainly under 10 metre boats, which is likely to be most impacted should the recreational take be deemed sufficient to introduce similar measures in the UK (or at least that is the way that the POs would like to see it go!).
Introduction of a quota system for bass (as currently being mooted) is most likely to lead to the first application of an 'angling quota' reducing the quota available to the catching sector.
The major problem is likely to be that whereas a growing number of anglers are happy to return their catch for conservation reasons, if they have an alowance of (say) 5 bass per day, they are likely to feel that is their legal entitlement and remove those fish from the fishery to maintain a 'track record' for the sector. (Not to mention returning smaller fish dead, when they have reached their allowance but then catch a larger fish - taking 5 fish off the beach, but killing more).
Yes, Wurzel DEFRA might appear enthusiastic about the idea, but in your own interest it would be better if they weren't!!
Bag Limits for anglers could turn out to have a very nasty sting in its tail for the catching sector!
Edited by Leon Roskilly, 23 January 2007 - 01:11 PM.