A bright future ahead for Sea Angling ??

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A bright future ahead for Sea Angling ??

Postby John D » Mon Jul 18, 2005 8:05 am

Hello fellow anglers,

It seems as though the recent decommissioning of white fish fleets in Ireland has gone unnoticed on this web site. I was absoltuely delighted with the news. As far as I'm aware this can only be excellent news for the future of sea angling in Ireland. Any comments? See article below:

Government to buy out quarter of entire fishing fleet for €45m

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THE state is to buy out a quarter of the entire fishing fleet in an effort to make the industry viable for the remaining vessels.

Fishing organisations responded with delight to the announcement of a €45m decommissioning programme for older and larger whitefish and shellfish boats, which follows angry blockades of ports by scallop fishermen last month.

Announcing the scheme, which the Cabinet approved yesterday, Junior Marine Minister Pat 'the Cope' Gallagher said it would give most fishermen who remain in the industry better livelihoods, with more modern and safer boats.

"It has become increasingly evident to me that there are too many boats chasing too few fish and unless this fundamental imbalance is corrected, the viability of the entire industry is being seriously threatened," he said.

The new scheme will replace the more modest €9m decommissioning scheme announced in April and is based on the recommendations of former IDA chief Padraic White, who was asked to draw up a report following blockades of Rosslare and Waterford ports by scallop fishermen last month.

Mr White said the imbalance of too many boats and too few fish was the root cause of the industry's ills because it put pressure on stocks, created a volatile economic environment and caused a temptation to exceed fishing restrictions, leading to legal cases and penalties both for fishermen and for Ireland.

The decommissioning scheme was a "decisive major move" to tackle the problem once and for all and transform the industry, Mr White said.

The scheme aims to reduce the whitefish fleet tonnage by 25pc, specifically targetting boats over 18m and older than 15 years and to reduce the number of shellfish vessels over 15m by roughly half.

It should be introduced rapidly, commencing later this year and be substantially completed during 2006, Mr White said.

Boats catching monkfish, hake, megrim and scallops will be targetted first, followed by those fishing species under less pressure and the scheme will include a €1.5m hardship fund.

Ireland will have to seek approval from the EU Commission for the scheme and will seek as much funding as possible from that source but the Government is committed to the €45m in any case, said Mr Gallagher.

The scheme would be completely voluntary as the Government does not want to force people out and the aim would be to create room for fishermen who remained and fair financial support to those who wanted to leave.

The main cause was the decline in whitefish stocks and the reduction in quotas by almost 50pc since 1990, with similar difficulties in the scallop sector, he said.

Michael Walsh, of the South East Fishermens' Organisation, said the scheme was very welcome.

Lorcan O'Cinneide of the Irish Fish Producers' Organisation said he was very "pleasantly surprised" with the €45m scheme which would address the imbalance between resources and fleet size.

The new scheme was a very welcome but the devil would be in the detail, said Jason Whooley of the South West Fishermens' Organisation.

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Postby Drew » Mon Jul 18, 2005 8:15 am

More room for Spanish Visitors?
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Postby x » Mon Jul 18, 2005 9:37 am

Sorry to be a cynic, but my first thoughts as well. I'm with K2 on this. Nothing short of a 200 mile total exclusion zone for foreign boats, total ban on gillnetting by a reduced domestic whitefish fleet is going to sort out the fish stocks here.
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Postby frodo baggins » Mon Jul 18, 2005 9:52 am

i kind of agree with sandman and K2 extreme, but we might as well be thankful that atleast the government is starting to make an effort, and as a group, we sea anglers should be seen to be supportive of such measures, rather than immediately critising everything as being not enough, or we'll all just end up with an image of spoilt bitchy teenage girls who are never happy.

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Postby x » Mon Jul 18, 2005 11:03 am

Don't get me wrong, I do think this is great news. I do welcome it as a good step along the way. But it would be wrong to project the message from the angling community that all will now be well. This is not a solution in and of itself.

It doesn't matter a damn how small the domestic fleet is if the 'quota' then goes to foreign fleets. The end result will be the same - no fish.
The only difference will be who caught them.

It's all about keeping the message out there that there are further problems that need addressed as a matter of urgency - the issue of gillnetting and ghost fishing by domestic and foreign boats in our waters being the biggest issue as I see it at the moment.

I can see this thread getting pretty heated.... :oops:
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Postby blaker » Mon Jul 18, 2005 11:06 am

The only thing is that the boats are starting to reap what they sow unfortunately. I know of a salmon boat (modern one) which has had a sum total of 3 boxes of fish all season, 2 of those coming in the one day. Not sustainable for the stocks or the trawlermen.
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Interesting

Postby John D » Mon Jul 18, 2005 11:23 am

All very good comments fellow anglers,

i.e. sending out the wrong message that all is well, about foreign trawlers now catching all the fish instead and also gillnetting.

Has anyone any idea as to how we can highlight these other problems and let the appropriate people know. We should be able to voice our opinions and concerns, especially as a group which makes it more effective !!

Cheers,
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Postby blaker » Mon Jul 18, 2005 11:35 am

The power of lobbyists in certain areas in Irish life is legendary (publicans and farmers especially). Obviously we anglers have virtually no such "ooomph". The sheer volume of criticism and evidence fired at the government over the drift netting for salmon issue which still failed to be acknowledged is evidence of that. The regularly unpunished fish kills in rivers and rampant poaching are just further highlights. The government seems intent on ignoring the issue until the 2nd biggest tourist leisure pursuit in the country is destroyed. Maybe then they will act, like with the bass issue.
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Postby x » Mon Jul 18, 2005 11:44 am

A good question - for the club PRO, I think. Maybe he could mail out a weekly newsletter to the Dept of the Marine, try on get it into some of the daily/weekly papers, maybe into some of the trade press - Skipper, FNI etc - all to highlight what we see as being the problems / solutions facing our fish stocks :?:

How about we give tthe Minister a free year's membership? :lol:

It'd look real bad if he never logged in! :twisted:
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Postby pete » Mon Jul 18, 2005 12:34 pm

Put simply I think sea fish stocks are screwed, plain and simple. In the 15 years I've been sea angling I kept a diary recording catches, lengths, weights etc and I have seen the arse fall out of the fishing in Donegal Bay.
For example in the mid 90's the whiting we got at Teeling averaged around 30cm now a fish that size is unusal and the average has dropped to 24cm. Another local mark around the same time produced on a average a turbot every two trips and the average size was close to 3lb. In the last three years I seen one fish of the same mark and it weighed 3/4lb. Thats not a decline that is a collapse of the stock. I could go on and I'm sure everybody can tell a similar story about their own area.

A lot of the damage is done on the offshore grounds by our own fleet and the foreign boats. These stocks are our breeding stock and in the natural scheme of things would constantly replenish the inshore grounds. Undermine this and the inshore grounds where most of us fish become denuded of fish. The inshore fishermen then scrounge a days fishing out of whats left, which by all acounts isn't much. Talk to any fishemen and they'll tell you that the whitefish industry is finished, Greencastle and Killybegs have at most a handfull of whitefish boats landing there simply because there are so few prime fish left. A further knock on from this has been the targetting of species lower down the food chain, green crab being an example. Sorry I'm beginning to rant a bit but it really is disheartening.

In terms of doing something about it I wouldn't really hold out much hope. The 'Cope' may be decommissioning with one hand but the whitefish renewal scheme is still active in that new boats are still coming on stream. Realistically as sea anglers we have little political power or creedence. There may be some use though in contacting BIM's inshore fishery officers or the National Parks and Wildlife Service to suggest nursery areas that could be made no catch zones. You'll probably not get anywhere but at least it could be a person with responsibility who would meet you face to face. There are certain inshore areas already protected through bye-laws but up where I am I know they regularly flout it without any action being taken. Its only really at the local level where we have any chance of making an impact.

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Postby blaker » Mon Jul 18, 2005 12:57 pm

While I appreciate that trawlers do more damage certainly we have got to work at it on our end too. Think of the annual mackerel slaughter for instance or the sight of many anglers coming home and bunging fish in the freezer for 18 months eventually to throw it out. I fished de Wall this year and there was one guy with 29 (yep) cod, none of whih would have fed 2. I know it minor in comparison to the trawlers but its not really drop in the bucket status either!
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Don't give up

Postby drseafish » Mon Jul 18, 2005 1:28 pm

I agree with the above. its all a sorry state but I think we cannot give up and must lobby relevant ministers, local councilor's etc..
I don't think the "Cope" is to bothered about us, he never even responded to a letter I sent early this year about in shore netting the value of the Bass fishery etc.. However I am still hopeful and if enough of us write, who knows? One thing for certain if we do nothing our sport is finished. I also believe there is a general consensus in the EU that the Fish Management is a joke and needs urgent action. It may take things to go over the brink before they act but its happening. look at the French been fined for unregulated catches.
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Postby blaker » Mon Jul 18, 2005 1:55 pm

I just struggle to reconcile the binning of 1/4 of the fleet with the increase in salmon quotas. This is a guy totally reliant on the mood of the moment to guide him. The scallop fleet protest and this happens 2 weeks later!
I'd vote Green but that would probably mean even less influence of my opinion!
Its no surprise to me that the vast, vast majority of my good fishing days have come either fishing for the unfashionables like mullet or the inaccessibles like wrasse.
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Postby Guest » Mon Jul 18, 2005 2:03 pm

I have to say I think it is good news and a positive step for once to save our fish stocks. But the buyout is till voluntary. Our fish stocks are always going to be plundered as long as the quots set at a European level are set too high. The Irish Government can only recommend quotas in Irish waters (which are now European waters) because when we joined the EU back in 1978, we traded our fishing rights for subsidies for farmers and that was why Spannish boats were allowed enter the Irish Box a couple of years ago. So when the Marine Institute calculate their Stock Assessment of all stocks in Irish waters it is sent to ICES (International Council for the Exploration of the Sea) who recommend quotas on a European level. However, despite ICES recommending that fishing stops on certain stocks, it is goverment ministers at the EU level who decide quotas and not the Scientists!!
Look at Iceland, Norway etc. who arn't in the EU and manage their own stocks.They maximise their yield through good management which equals healthy stocks (and the angling there is fantastic)
If we want to highlight our worries, we should (I mean this list and every club that forum members are involved with) to lobby the Central Fisheries Board,who are responsible for Irish Angling but also involve Bord Failte, Minister for tourism etc. because it will only be through intense pressure from these groups that we will highlight the plight of angling and the tourism it generates and the concluding economic impact on tourism. Ministers etc. are more likely to sit up and take notice of the tourism sector losing money than Irish anglers lobbing because their fishing is deteorating. Comments from English clubs etc. to say that they won't come and fish anymore because they fishing is deteorating would definitely help.
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Postby petekd » Mon Jul 18, 2005 5:59 pm

If I could make a suggestion in relation to lobbying Tds etc. If someone more in the know than myself about the current state of affairs could draw up a letter outlining our concerns and recommendations and post it in a downloadable/printable format on the site with a request that all forum members if in agreement with the issues raised could print it out, sign it and post to the relevant people. The impact of the message raised by having a couple of hundred letters dropped on the mat on a regular basis could highlight concerns to good effect.
Fluff chucking is the new black..... Rampant Wreckfish is a fly angler in denial :D
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Excellent idea

Postby John D » Tue Jul 19, 2005 7:53 am

Excellent idea petekd. Now, who out there is in the know ??
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Postby Adrian » Tue Jul 19, 2005 9:17 am

This proposal is going to do absolutely nothing to preserve fish stocks, the same amount of fish are going to be caught only by less boats due to the quota scheme. This measure is only being put in place to pacify a bunch of fisherman who are going to go out of business anyway due to the severe lack of stocks. It's pretty clear whose side the "Cope" is on, his attitude towards salmon quotas makes that clear.
The government would be far better off spending that money on enforcing the protection laws which already exist, and banning inshore trawling and netting while they are at it. But the "Cope" isn't going to do any of that as he would upset too many of his friends.

"Minister for the Marine"
His title should be changed to:
"Minister for commercial fishermans welfare"
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Conservation?

Postby gowerray » Tue Jul 19, 2005 10:50 am

And we're in a worse state over here on Mainland UK but there is hope. There are currently three 'Recreational Sea Angler' organisations in talks with the Government. They are B.A.S.S, NFSA and the free to join Sea Anglers Conservation Network. Taken a long time to get the Government to accept their responsibilities to us over Fish stocks and even longer to accept the reps on our behalf. May be to do with the fact that they want to issue a Sea Angling Licence over here in the future but who knows. All we do know is that they are listening now.
One of the regular retorts by the British Government has been 'But how can we work with Sea Anglers when they're not prepared to work with each other? No single point of representation contact as they're pretty much spread out and disconnected from each other.' This train of thought has now hopefully changed with the acceptance of the three organisations by the Government. There still remains the unanswered question of numbers. Figures quoted for Sea Anglers over here are around one and a half million but again when the Government asks each of the three 'How many members do you have?' it explains our apathy. If you want to keep an eye on things in the UK and see how the talks over the same issues are progressing you can get links to the news and even join for free on the main page of the SACN at: http://www.anglersnet.co.uk/sacn/
Same water passes around our islands with the same concerns. Hope it helps.
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Good stuff Ray

Postby John D » Tue Jul 19, 2005 11:32 am

Excellent stuff Ray,

That's the type of positive attitude we need.

Thanks very much. I'll check out the link and join too.

Regards,
John D
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SACN

Postby gowerray » Tue Jul 19, 2005 1:14 pm

Leon Roskilly of the Sea Anglers Conservation Network (SACN) is one of the most respected and knowledgeable campaigners for Marine conservation. Leon is also very approachable. I'm sure he'll answer any questions you may have and gladly give advice. The 'Compleat' all round good guy for Angling conservation.
An Irish SACN section? Why not. Give it a try. For anyone wishing to join the SACN for free the link is:
http://www.anglersnet.co.uk/sacn/membership.htm
Nothing to lose, everything to gain.
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