Bringing about Change

Wed Jul 20, 2005 9:49 am

I’m 61 years old now, and recently retired (where did it all go!).

I’ve seen many changes during the years, some good some bad.

Definitely one of the bad changes is in the quality of sea fishing now, compared to my younger days when one of the problems was to find plastic sacks big enough and strong enough to carry home my catch.

Nowadays a supermarket bag is all that’s needed, and often that stays in the bottom of the tackle bag. :(

Yes there are still good fish to be had, but you need to work for them much harder, travel much further, invest more in catching them, and be prepared for disappointment more often than not.

The days when a relative novice could go down to a local beach and have a reasonable chance of coming home with a good catch seem to be fading from memory, along with the chance of catching several really big fish during the year.

Now, on beaches where anglers would stand with a small pile of fairly large cod behind them, anglers gather in one place when news spreads along the beach that an angler further along has landed a codling!

And the sight of those trawlers endlessly working, not far offshore, and the bobbing of gill-net markers, almost within casting distance.

We’ve all been there, moaning to each other, about how ‘they’ should do something, full of ideas on what ‘they’ should be doing.

Mention taking action, and the response was ‘It’s a waste of time’, ‘They, won’t listen to us’, ‘All they are interested in is the commercials’.

But growing anger and inaction is something that some people can’t live with!

Looking back over my 60 years, I can see how much the world has changed, and some of those changes would have seemed incredible back then!

And I’m not talking about the technological changes, but changes in attitude and culture, bought about by a relatively few activists and campaigners with a good cause.

Civil Rights in the Southern USA; the coming down of the Iron Curtain; acceptance of socially excluded minorities.

These and many other changes in thinking and in society came about because a few people felt strongly enough to stop moaning about the way the world is and decided to try to do something, and in doing that found others who were thinking what they were thinking.

Have a read of [url][/url] and when you’ve had a day or to digest that, I’ll come back and post some more here.

(Can't bore you too much all in one go!)

Tight Lines - leon

Wed Jul 20, 2005 1:25 pm

OK, I read all that, very informative, thanks Leon for taking the time, the main message I got from it was that we should get organised.
Maybe it would be a good idea to have a new Conservation forum and start by adding some stickies with contact numbers (bailfs/fisheries boards etc) and email addresses (e.g. Minister for marine/Tourism/Local TDs).

As a suggestion, I think we should take a dual approach.
Firstly find out whats illegal and familiarise ourselves with the facts then actively report illegal activity and know who to report it to.
Secondly, Start actively lobbying ministers to bring about changes which will help to preserve fish stocks.

If the Conservation forum was setup pretty quickly then maybe Leon could place his next post there.

Wed Jul 20, 2005 1:26 pm

Sorry that was me not logged in, damn :oops:

Wed Jul 20, 2005 2:22 pm

Sounds like a plan - the threads on this are all over the show...

A sticky with the contact details of the relevant protection agencies would be handy, plus somewhere to post abuse as spotted and an area to view the latest developments folk spot happening in the political arena.

Wed Jul 20, 2005 2:25 pm

from todays Irish Independant:

The Irish Hotels Federation has added its voice to
calls for the phasing out of salmon drift-netting in Ireland.
The practice has already been curtailed by most of Ireland's
neighbours in an effort to conserve dwindling salmon stocks.

However, the Irish authorities allow it to continue, despite l
engthy campaigning by anglers and tourism interests.

The Irish Hotels Federation said today that the number of
salmon fishermen visiting Ireland had halved over the past
six years, mainly due to falling wild salmon numbers in Irish

Illustrates that there are many groups with some sort of intrest in this subject

Wed Jul 20, 2005 3:09 pm

The Irish Hotels Federation has added its voice to
calls for the phasing out of salmon drift-netting in Ireland.

Excellent, I was going to suggest lobbying the Minister for tourism as well, I reckon there are a lot of guest houses and B&Bs all around the coast whose livlihoods are in decline due the declining fish numbers. We should encourage guest house, B&B, tackle shop owners and charter boat owners to email/write to the minister for tourism expressing their concerns. We should also write (to the tourism minister) as a lot of us go on fishing holidays in Ireland and point out that it's rapidly getting to a point where we would be as well off going abroad.

Wed Jul 20, 2005 3:15 pm

All the groups you mention also have business to run. but if you got every charter skipper, BnB proprietor etc involved to sign a few copies of pre-printed letters and mailed them for them - you might have more luck.
Gotta be smart about this...

Wed Jul 20, 2005 3:55 pm

Have a poke around on the SACN site.


There (mainly for English Anglers) are links about how to write letters, who to write to, how to find various address, and what agencies are responsible for what etc.

Something like that set up specifically for Irish Anglers could help to move things along.

We are starting to get a few SACN members in Ireland now, and if someone was to step forward as an SACN Regional Co-ordinator for Ireland (We have co-ordinator's for Scotland and Wales), they could be responsible for getting something similar on the road (It just takes a few days poking about looking for all the information that might be needed, then putting that into a word document for posting on the site - We could either create, or that page(s) could be put up here perhaps, with links to and from the main Anglersnet SACN site.

Any volunteers?

Tight Lines - leon

Wed Jul 20, 2005 5:22 pm

Lads I wholeheartedly endorse your efforts and will invol;ve myself in any way I can (finally a bit of student rebelliousness after all these years in college.
I think we may just have reached a point where the clamour for change becomes undeniable. The scale of the StopNow campaign (websites, road placards, stickers etc), efforts by the Green Party (I've sent 5 of their cards, do the same) and now the likes of tourist agencies becoming cantankerous may just do it, at least at a drift net level.
If there was some sort of template letter of protest we could all print and send (and get our friends, neighbours, relatives, pets and barmen to send) it would be a timely and worthwhile intervention. Maybe Leon has something we could adapt?

Wed Jul 20, 2005 8:56 pm

Good idea about the Conservation forum. I've posted a suggestion on the Website Developement forum for folks to have a say on that idea.

I reckon if we had it, we could move these 2 recent topics into it, and take it from there.

Anyone want to be Leon's Irish contact for SACN?


Thu Jul 21, 2005 8:46 am

I'll have a lash, if nobody else wants to try - or objects. If anyone with a better track to the ear of our elected representatives or leaders of related industries like tourism etc comes along looking for the job, I'll gladly pass the baton on then - I've always said that anyone who wants the be involved in politics shouldn't be let - they're up to no good. But I'm so pig-bitingly mad about the bo**cks that our 'elected representatives' get up to in regards to the wholesale trashing of all things angling related, that it's start doing something constructive instead of ranting (a favourite passtime of mine as regular visitors will have noted) or quit angling altogether. So much for angling being relaxing.....

So - anyone object to me starting with this? Feel free to volunteer or second any other takers - I won't be offended...

And I'm with Tanglerat etc on a seperate forum for all things related to conservation and developments that could affect angling - such as poaching, pollution (heard a nice one about 1/4 million litres of caustic soda spilled into Cork Harbour at the weekend - apparently the EPA declined to act as 'nobdy was hurt' - sorry guys - but I think the environment might have been - want to check what that snappy acronym stands for - Environmental Protection something???), the CFP etc

Whoops - I'm ranting again... :roll:

Thu Jul 21, 2005 9:13 am


It's really encouraging to see posts like this and I would love to be involved any way I can. I think there are a lot of anglers who feel the same it's just that with no place to go and no central repository of information many people just don't know where to start so instead we feel helpless and just rant.

Letter's to ministers and those in power is one way to attack this but printing even pre-printed letters, singing them and posting them may be too much "work" for alot of people? I know it probably would be for me if I were to be honest

Why not use the technology we now have at our disposal and start a mass email campaign? A standard email template outlining a few core issues might well do the trick, and simply clicking a button is a lot easier than printing letters, licking stamps, dropping em off to the post office etc. Imagine if evey week TD's e-mail accounts were getting clogged up with 300-400 emails. At the very least we would be a bluddy nuisance and when you're a nuisance you always get noticed :-)

E-mail campaigns like this have already been successful. Have a look at what bite-back have already acheived.

Last edited by Liamo on Thu Jul 21, 2005 9:19 am, edited 2 times in total.

Thu Jul 21, 2005 9:13 am

I'll second sandman for the job and I'll help in any way I can.

If there was some sort of template letter of protest we could all print and send

Read the information on Leons links, one of the points he makes is that individual letters are given greater notice than template letters or petitions.
We should strive to send as many individual letters/emails as possible and maybe have a number of templates as a backup.

Thu Jul 21, 2005 11:33 am

Full steam ahead on this folks, the sooner we get started the better.

From reading various reports in the UK about similar initiatives, apathy is the biggest adversary to this proposed campaign. Most people are happy to sit on their hands and do nothing, despite the fact that their catches are getting poorer and poorer every year.

It will take a while to get going, so the more people involved the better, as it will help to spread the word, and get more letters and signatures. I'll do all I can to help out, and fair play to you Sandman for volunteering. I'm sure you'll do a bang up job. Just remember Rome wasn't built in a day, and this will be a long, and often frustrating process.

I would also suggest that a small team of helpers is formed, as this could be a little overwhelming otherwise, spread the load if you know what I mean. Whatever happens, it is VITAL that this is organised in a well structured way, everything should be done in the most professional manner possible. A haphazard approach will not work, and will be a waste of energy and time for what is a very important and worthy cause.

I know from dropping in to some UK forums that Leon is a well respected angler and conservationist, so we should definitely listen to any advice he can give on the matter. Thanks for dropping in to say hello Leon, hopefully you have created a politicians worst nightmare.

Mark/JD - is this something that should be discussed at the next Leinster branch meeting? It would certainly be a massive step to get their backing and assistance. It would be very interesting to gauge their reaction, and to find out if similar initiatives are underway, or have been held in the past.

Thu Jul 21, 2005 12:20 pm

I'm new enough to the forum but I will give what ever help I can to Sandman. I am a fish biologist by trade and know alot about the mistakes that are being made in fisheries management. However, at the moment I am living and working in Germany although I will be returning to Ireland and moving to Cork in september


Thu Jul 21, 2005 12:49 pm

Sandman, looks like you're the man!

Thu Jul 21, 2005 3:39 pm

Thanks for the votes of confidence folks. All I have to do is live up to it for about 5 years (trust me - this is the long haul)....and like I said, if anyone better qualified comes along, feel free to ask for the baton.

I was off looking at the overview of the CFP at

Their synopsis of the aims of the CFP is interesting in it's wording of who the beneficiaries are intended to be:-

The EU fishing industry is a major source of employment and food. It is therefore important to prevent over-fishing by some to the detriment of all in the interests of the livelihood of fishermen and the continued availability to consumers of enough fish at a fair price. The Union is now looking beyond a common fisheries policy (CFP) to a maritime policy which will integrate policy on fisheries, the environment and marine-based industries.

I realise that to take this 'mission statement' out of context would be wrong - this document is written with the interests of the commercial fishing industry at heart - but it shows the mindset of the bureaucrats who draft this stuff. Note the way that the entire European fish stock appears to have been assumed to be the property of the commercial fishing interests to harvest as they see fit.

There is a passing nod to ensuring that consumers get enough reasonably priced fish.

However, it'd be nice if there was even a token reference to the rest of the population who have every bit as much right to the same fish stocks. Not a share of those stocks - the whole stock. It's an important distinction.

Thu Jul 21, 2005 9:51 pm

Sandman wrote:However, it'd be nice if there was even a token reference to the rest of the population who have every bit as much right to the same fish stocks. Not a share of those stocks - the whole stock. It's an important distinction.

Then you'll be interested in the letter we sent yesterday (attached to an email) to Joe Borg, the EU Fisheries Minister (at if anyone else wants to join in :) )

(Jo Borg's speech in full is at [url][/url] )

Dr Joe Borg
Directorate-General for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs

Dear Doctor Borg,

We often read your statements with great interest, and the speech that you delivered on the 13th of July, 2005 was read with the usual interest, especially the following:

Statement at the Conference “Sea our future: the regional approach to an integrated European Maritime Policy”

"What we have in mind is a broader and more comprehensive goal: our goal is to contribute to the well-being of Europeans, both present and future. As I have said at the outset, people are at the heart of this policy. Their welfare, and the ability to make sustainable use of the oceans and seas’ resources for their benefit, is the final goal of our efforts. Improving our economic development and preserving the environment are some of the means that we foresee to achieve that goal - means that are, in themselves, undoubtedly worthy of the highest praise and most vigilant efforts.

In so far as the economy is concerned, our oceans and seas offer clear potential for growth, namely in sectors such as tourism, fish farming and sea ranching.”

Whilst heartened that your department’s interest has expanded beyond the traditional pre-occupation with the commercial fishing industry, and that relatively small part of the European population engaged in fisheries, we are concerned that, whilst ‘tourism’ is mentioned, there is no mention of the very important Recreational Sea Angling Sector.

In the UK, a number of studies have shown that, although the sectors are not directly comparable, the economic importance of the Recreational Sea Angling (RSA) sector rivals, if not exceeds, the economic importance of commercial fishing, especially inshore commercial fishing, where resources are often shared by the sectors, yet the shared resources are usually managed only for the benefit of the commercial sector, often to the detriment of the development potential of the RSA sector, even though the socio-economic return from development of RSA would be of much greater socio-economic worth to many coastal communities.

Perhaps, for too long RSA has been overlooked because of an image that angling is an enjoyment of just a few people, whereas the UK studies suggest that there is a vast number of people involved in Recreational Sea Angling, generating many thousands of jobs. (And one must remember that these studies have been undertaken at a time when the quality of the angling product (big fish, lots of fish) has been seriously degraded).

The experience from outside of Europe demonstrates that when the ‘angling product’ is purposefully developed, the growth potential is immense.

Unfortunately, the overseas statistics also include the time and money spent by European anglers seeking the experience of Recreational Sea Angling ‘as it used to be’, in foreign waters, whilst the potential to not only satisfy the demand for a better angling experience within Europe would mean that much of that spend would be retained within the European community, but there are wonderful places here that would attract many anglers from overseas, if there was a better angling product on offer!

Dr Borg, it would hearten us more to hear more frequent references to the Recreational Angling Sector in your speeches and to see that your department understands the huge potential for development of the environmentally friendly and socially important RSA sector, developing practical policies that would make good use of the potential for development of the sector for the benefit of the people and the economy of the European Union.

Yours sincerely,

Leon Roskilly
Sea Anglers’ Conservation Network (SACN)

Thu Jul 21, 2005 10:58 pm

Thank you Kieran and John D, I see we have a conservation forum at the bottom of the page!

I must admit, besides some beautiful countryside, a great craic and within driving distance, Ireland is a haven for a lot of UK holidaymakers because there is still some fish in the sea. I just hope that pressure from this forum may just help to nudge those in power to look after the Recreational Angler, instead of the commercials. Recreational Angling must bring more into Ireland in overseas trade than the commercials ever will. I have been drafting a letter along those lines for months now, but if I can get some names and addresses to send my thoughts to in Dublin, it may just tip me over the edge and get me to post that letter.

If anyone doubts my view about available fish, try finding any UK forum that details so many marks and gives away so much information so freely as this one does. Sad to say, it is getting harder and harder to find the fish and people are going to extreme measures to protect smaller and smaller fishing places. At least there is some seasonal protection for Bass in Ireland, even though it may need more enforcement.

So, Leon and Sandman, get posting and lets see if we can help raise the profile in Dublin of the Recreational Sea Angler,

Now, where’s that address I need…..

Good luck.


Fri Jul 22, 2005 7:37 pm

Great stuff, Tim. Why not post a copy of your letter here too, it may inspire some more to the same fellas :?:

You get two for one with this Minister, John O'Donoghue: Tourism and Sports!

And of course there's this Dept:

Where Noel Dempsey is Minister and Pat the Cope is Minister of State for the Marine.

Write to them all, the more the merrier! :D