Bill Wiggin MP, the Conservative Party's Shadow Fisheries Minister, has today attacked the Government for failing to take action to save the £1 billion recreational sea angling sector from damaging EU proposals. If implemented, a draft Regulation prepared by the Commission would force Britain's 1.5 million recreational sea anglers
- to declare their catches,
- be restricted by quota limits
- and face overwhelming levels of bureaucracy including the introduction of licences, which the Government had ruled out only last year.
After Environment Secretary Hilary Benn refused to oppose these proposals or even acknowledge angler's concerns in the House of Commons, Bill Wiggin said:
"By refusing to stand up to the EU, the Government is not only letting down over a million sea anglers but is also putting £1 billion and 20,000 jobs at risk. Not content with bringing the ten metre and under fishermen to the brink of ruin by reducing their allocation of quota, ministers now want to swamp sea anglers and boat owners in bureaucracy from Brussels."
"Under these proposals, a sea angler catching a couple of cod would have to fill in forms or buy a licence to declare their catch and it would count against the national quota. Or a small boat, making only a handful of journeys to sea each year would need to apply for a fishing licence. This level of control is totally ridiculous and instead of persecuting the nation's sea anglers the Government and EU should be focusing on tackling discards and making our fisheries sustainable and profitable."
Anglers' Net also received the following:
Recreational anglers must not be subject to CFP
15th January 2009
A Council Regulation on control systems for compliance with the CFP will be discussed in the Fisheries Committee in January. While Conservatives support moves to ensure vigorous compliance with measures which seek to protect and conserve fish stocks, we are deeply concerned at the proposal contained in Article 47 of the Regulation, which will effectively bring recreational fisheries under the direct control of the CFP.
The Proposal would require millions of recreational anglers throughout the EU to apply for special licences and log and register their catches, where they are fishing for species covered by a multi-annual recovery plan. Member States would have to allocate a quota for recreational anglers and this would be deducted from their national quota. Recreational anglers would be prohibited from selling any fish they catch.
Conservative MEPs believe these proposals are draconian and unworkable and would impose a level of bureaucratic interference into sport fishing that would have a disastrous impact on the tourist sector, without providing any meaningful benefits to conservation. We will seek to remove recreational fisheries from the context of the proposed regulation.
Vice-President of the EPP-ED Group
Conservative Spokesman on Fisheries