What issues do you think are most detrimental to fish stocks

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What issues do you think are most detrimental to fish stocks

Postby Adrian » Fri Jul 22, 2005 9:54 am

What issues do you think are most detrimental to irish fish stocks? This is to get some idea of what issues we should campaign against directly to Irish based politicians etc, please add your comments. My views are:

Salmon drift netting (A rod caught salmon is reckoned to be worth up to €300 to the irish economy, whereas a net caught salmon is reckoned to be worth about €20)

Inshore gill netting (Gill nets anywhere for that matter) If Salmon drift netters are bought out this will become an increasing problem effecting other species such as pollock, not to mention bycatches such as otters, porposes (spelling?) and diving birds)

Inshore trawling (This really is a joke)

Non enforcement of existing protection laws (Flouting the bass closed season being the main one)

I haven't mentioned the quota system which we all know is a joke and needs to be tackled at an EU level.


Entries now open for the All Ireland Shore Cod Championships on November 23rd hosted by Sea Angling Ireland SAC

Postby x » Fri Jul 22, 2005 10:53 am

Good points.

I don't think we really want a blanket ban on commercial fishing. They have a fairly health commercial fishery in Iceland and other countries, all of whom are notably outside the Common Fisheries Policy - proving that if all interests are to be served fairly that there are systems that can work.

A more realistic and achievable objective might be that we get to a sustainable fishery - no more gillnetting or trawling on an industrial scale - maybe a 5 mile limit (ie exclusion zone) for any form of commercial (for fish as opposed to shellfish) fishing and a more selective form of fishing outside the 5 mile limit - jigging catches fish that command a higher price ashore due to the high catch quality - it's also a lot more selective.

Maybe we want to start pushing for legislation with teeth and a body to police the waters we now seem to own in name only. What if all foreign boats were checked in and out of Irish waters to make sure they take static gear with them - rather than leaving it there for days or weeks until they return, killing fish for nothing?

To put it in perspective folks, in Ireland, our ratio of Fishery Protection Vessels to sea area is the equivalent to two (yup, two - as in 2) patrol cars to police the whole of the country. In light of that statistic, I'm surprised piracy on the high seas doesn't top the crime league.

Just to prove I'm no xenophobe, (I do tend to single out one of our European neighbours for the bulk of my criticism regarding gillnetting practices) the local commercial sector have a lot to answer for as well. But it is the massive industrial operations - which seem to live eternally on a cycle of grants and concessions from the state, banks, the EU and every blessing the government can shower on them - bigger boats, bigger ports, bigger factories, bigger 'quotas' - who need to be reigned in.

I think we'd be better off with the smaller commercial fishermen being extended the hand of friendship here. (Don't look so shocked!) They pretty much don't get grants, incentives etc. In fact, a lot of the smaller operators are about one step ahead of the bank on a good day. So I think their input into what they need out of a fishery has to be heard and considered. Their aims mighn't be so different from ours at the end of the day. The recovery of the lobster stock by voluntary conservation measures of inshore fishermen (The V-notch programme) proves that this may be a sector that is commited to and capable of self regulation. We might be a lot better courting them to assist us in conservation than ignore them and have them opposed to us - for fear we intend to remove whatever pittance of a livelihood they have left. Which is not the plan.

The wider public also have to be informed about what is really going on. It'd be nice to think that most of them would be aware as it impacts everyone in the country in some shape or form. If nothing else, who's tax do you think paid for the ?45 million decommision program announced recently? (And lest we forget, the ?200 million whitefish fleet renewal program) That isn't all coming from Europe, and if it was, hey! you live in Europe - it's not some magical money machine across the sea!
And that's just one aspect we might be stressing.

So, I think we'll shortly need to begin to formalise what we want, then what we can realistically campaign for and see what we'll settle for. We need to feel out those groups who might be able to assist or provide input in whatever capacity. We also need to get a firm grasp of the legislation currently in force and how this can be changed. In short we need our facts and figures, all checked twice, before we really get moving.

Be under no impression that anything will happen quickly. Any time you try to persade politicians to meet with you and enter into debate on issues they don't want to discuss, you'll find it hard going. So whenever they doorstep you, do make sure that you keep them there bending their ear for as long as possible about the issues you see on this and other forums, about the numbers of votes involved. It's the only thing they really react to. We'll, that and public ridicule.

Postby Conor » Fri Jul 22, 2005 12:15 pm

Hold on,I think a few of your facts and figures a bit wrong.I don't know where you got the figure of ratio of Fishery Protection Vessels to sea area from equalling 2 patrol cars for the whole of the country. Irish waters are less than 5 times the size of our land (which is approx. 16% of all EU sea fisheries). To patrol that we have 6 naval vessels and 2 Large Protection vessels. They are the Cosantoir Bradan (Salmon Defender)and the Bradan Beatha (Salmon of Life). These protection vessels operate within the 12 mile limit, i.e. no more than 12 miles from shore. In an average year these vessels can expect to cover over 11,000 nautical miles in 315 patrol days.The LPV patrols have a dual function, they act as a visible deterrent and they can act directly against unlawful fishing. When they observe breaches of Fisheries Legislation the crew can board vessels and/or confiscate catch and gear.

Also the Regional Fisheries Boards operate over 30 RIBs. These boats patrol inshore waters. The majority of patrols take place within estuaries, and not further than 6 miles from shore. The RIBs also patrol many of the nation's lakes and rivers. The RIBs are complementd by 4-wheel drive vehicles and trailers to allow patrols of inland waters inaccessible to larger vessels.

On top of this we have the Air Corps. The Air Corps provide support to the Naval Service on a routine basis. It also provides support for joint Fisheries Boards and Naval Service fishery protection patrols and surveillance. The Aer Corps also provide the service of their Cessnas for aerial pollution patrol monitoring.
The Air Corp do a lot of patrolling for illegal netting of salmon at sea and cover huge distances in a day.

I think it is very important that the facts and figures used to persuade help in lobbing are correct so as not to antagonise people such as the Central Fisheries Board who are in charge of patrolling our waters and who are an ally in this quest to save our our fish stocks. There mission statement reads:

"To ensure that the valuable natural resources of inland fisheries and sea angling are conserved, managed, developed and promoted in their own right and to support sustainable economic activity, job creation and recreational amenity."

The main problems facing our hobby as I see it are:

1. Drift fishing for salmon. A god point made on this thread already but I think we need it stopped already.We should lend our support to the existing campaign. As far as I know, boats under 26 feet must set their nets 200 yards from the shore and boats under 26 feet, 100 yards from the shore. In practice this does not happen and the law is broken.

2. In shore trawling. Ridiculous activity and well commented on by Adrian

3. But the biggest problem is quota management. Stock assessments are generated by government bodies such as the Marine Institute and submitted to ICES (the International Committee for the Exploration of the Sea). They then recommend quotsa and the recommendations are passed to government ministers who then decide the quotas at an annual meeting.So the scientists recommend reduce fishing on certain stocks or no fishing at all and then the politicians then practically ignore it and set the quotas theirselves. Absolutely ridiculous.

However, the quotas generated are on a mathematical calculation based on SSB (the spawning stock biomass i.e. weight of adult spawning fish) and traditional recruitment i.e. what historically, recruitment is generated from historical SSB. HOWEVER, this is seriously faulted now. Scientists have discovered, for some time now that global warming reduces recruitment in alot of stocks such as cod. If the environmental factor is calculated into the recruitment SSB relationship, the predicted stocks in the future are much lower and therefore fishing should be lower. Scientist have published this information in scientific journals but it still doesnt enter the managerial system. If it did, catches would be recommended at a lower level. It would really help to highlight this problem in any lobbing I think.

There are loads of other problems like non-selectivity of gear especially trawls but one step at a time I think!! (plus tackling that problem is way to big!!)

What do ye think? Sorry the post is so long but the rant did me good!!
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Postby Adrian » Fri Jul 22, 2005 2:12 pm

Some very good and informative points there from Sandman a Conor.

The reason I started this thread was to try and suss out which issues we could campaign against or add our voices to to get the ball rolling (Rather than debating endlessly among ourselves).

How about we start by doing the following:

Post a stickey at the top of this fourm with as much information as possible regarding any existing campaigns against drift netting for Salmon so that we can add out voices. Personally I believe this is one area where a complete ban on commercial netting would do far more good for the economy as well as fish stocks.

Once we get this up and going we can look towards doing something similar for the next chosen issue. :D

Postby x » Fri Jul 22, 2005 3:23 pm

"While always open to correction - all input appreciated, my interpretation of our marine protection vessel coverage is based on the following perspective. In addition, you'll find that a lot of the figures quoted as fact, if looked at from different perspectives, can be used to support any number of different viewpoint. A variation on the lies, damn, lies and statistics theme.

So, the 6 (or is it 8? information varies) Naval vessels are just that - property of the Navy and tasked occasionally with fishery protection. They are often used for courtesy visits, drug interdiction, SAR, pollution control and other non-fishery protection/enforcement related tasks. Better than nothing, but not dedicated fishery protection vessels. I'd like to see a dedicated force.

Correct me again if I'm wrong, but operating only inside the 12 mile limit the two LPVs would be poorly positioned to check log books, catch and mesh sizes of the hoard of (mostly) foreign vessels trawling, longlining and gillnetting the place bare outside the 12 mile limit - which is where the vast majority of damage to fish stocks is done. And with a coastline length of about 3700 odd miles, even these are a bit thin on the ground.

Most of the foreign vessels do not land their catch here so do not put themselves in a position to get boarded and inspected. You used to hear of the Navy detaining boats for fishing offences, but I can't remember the last time I heard this. I'll need to follow the trade press a bit more closely. What makes it onto the TV., papers and radio anywhere is only what you are supposed to hear, as far as I can make out.

But I do remember on a few occasions thinking that the fines and penalties that were imposed were trivial. We should have confiscated boat, gear and catch, jailed the skippers and deported the crews. In most cases I think the boats were back at sea the same day as the hearing. Must look up the old news reports.

I'm sure the host of RIBs are great for a lot of the near inshore work but as the vast majority of our waters are outside this, whether we have 13 or 30 is almost immaterial. And with a coastline length of about 3700 odd miles, even these are a bit thin on the ground. Now, if that looks like a paltry level of protection, consider that the Marine Institute says that

""Ireland's marine resource is over 220 million acres ? more than ten times her land area"".

I'll accept that we can trim off the area covered by the two LPVs and 30 RIBs and probably not all of the remainder is suitable for fishing effort and tat area doesn't have to be protected as such - but whatever protection it is going to get has to come from the 6 (or is it 8?) Naval vessels who do not do this full time. If the two LPVs do 11000 nautical miles per year between them that's what? 2 round trips of Ireland each anually at a generous estimate. Not much coverage there, then. I do more mileage yearly in my car....

I think that with the best will in the world, the fishery protection resources we have are nowhere near adequete. I offer as proof for this shocking hypothesis only the fact that the fish are vanishing year on year. We all moan about it, so it must be true. Otherwise we're all just not really very good at this angling lark.

You are absolutely spot on about the way quotas are calculated, Conor. Even if we were to take the scientific calculation and recommendations as 100% accurate, as we saw with the salmon TAC this year, the Minister decided on advice from the National Salmon Commission that the TAC ought to be higher and raised the quota above the scientifically recommended TAC.

I think we need to look hard at the legislation we need and the resources (and political willpower) to implement it. The bottom line is, however you mangle your interpretation of the statistical information, that fish are getting scarcer....."

Nice posts

Postby drseafish » Mon Jul 25, 2005 1:59 pm

Its good to get some facts.
I would like to think I have been fishing a good while (>10Yrs). I nor any of my fishing pals have every seen a fishery protection officer (Please Please tell me were I can met one). They most not patrol down around these parts as all those quys putting out long lines, nets etc in broad daylight wouldn't do it would they? They mustn't take scale samples from Bass in Resturants either as they might find out that they are not farmed after all, but wild illegally caught Bass. Need I go on. I am sure the mission statement of the CFB is what you say but do they have the resources to back it up, I think not. Overall I think we want to move in the same direction but its difficult to image how it can be done. If the CFB , Navy ect had more resources are they the solution to our problems. I wonder how much money does it cost to patrol our coasts at present and how much would it cost for it to be done to a satisfactory level.
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Postby Tanglerat » Mon Jul 25, 2005 2:52 pm

Sadly, nobody's resources are infinite, much as we'd like them to be.

What I'd really love to see is a couple or more high profile prosecutions that result in severe sentences. Get the message out to the thiefs and abusers that they risk considerable consquences.
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Postby Adrian » Mon Jul 25, 2005 4:40 pm

This one keeps going off topic, I'll try again:

Can you put a stickey titled "Stop Salmon drift nets NOW" with a link to http://www.stopnow.ie (Credit to Leon for pointing us towards this). Anyway I think it would be a good idea for us encourage our members to support this existing campaign.

Postby Tanglerat » Mon Jul 25, 2005 7:04 pm

Good idea, Adrian.

I don't think I can do stickies, but I'll pm Kieran, I'm sure he'll oblige.
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