The Views of a UK Commercial Bass Fisherman

Wed Nov 25, 2015 11:30 pm ... gulations/

Thumbs Down To New Bass Regulations
Bass protection has been given the ‘thumbs down’ by the majority of South West fishermen, with recently imposed measures described as ‘too harsh and too late’ by Cornish line fisherman, James (Shamus) Nicholls, reports Phil Lockley.

A time-served pole and live-bait fisherman, Shamus operates around the treacherous Manacle Rocks in Falmouth Bay; a region once scoured by few fishermen like him, those who navigate the rocks by landmarks.

“However, following the introduction of electronic track-plotters the Manacles is now surrounded with un-licensed angling boats and kayaks specially-designed for bass fishing, and capable of carrying quite a few fish,” he told Fishing News.

James Nicholls didn’t pull any punches on his attack against the rules, saying, “The new MLS of 42cm will never protect the bass, because tons and tons of bass measuring well under that size, even under the previous MLS of 37.5cm (Cornwall IFCA), will still be landed to restaurants and pubs by boat anglers and shore anglers alike. There are other buyers too, who will just pay cash under the counter for undersized bass. How often has the MMO or IFCA checked restaurants and asked to see the invoices? They may have done, but how often have they just turned up without warning? I haven’t heard of it. It would help put a stop to that practice if there were MMO or IFCA spot-checks on restaurants.

“Illegal landing of undersized bass goes on day after day; it has wiped-out our fishery on the Manacles and beyond, and an increase in the MLS won’t help one little bit.

“We are now coming to the time of our year when the Manacle bass fishery should be good; not big fish, but well over 37.5cm although not 42cm in length – that is quite a big bass. Many of the so-called ‘do-gooders’ may attack mono-netters, but we all have to make a living, and what they catch is a fraction of what the so-called sea anglers take.

Thumbs down to bass regulations

“It’s the same for the netters as it is for us; the new MLS of 42cm will lead to a mass slaughter of bass through nothing worse than discards. We might be able to unhook fish and return them, but often the bass take-deep and won’t survive,” he explained.

And at the other end of the spectrum is Scott Wharton, partner in S & P Trawlers Ltd, a North Devon firm having invested in its fourth trawler, Our Dylan Ben. He predicts that the latest bass restrictions may have closed the final door on the North Devon fleet.

He told Fishing News: “My brother Paul and I, owners of S & P Trawlers, are now forced to keep our boats nomadic, fishing in any area other than off our home port of Ilfracombe. At certain times of the year bass was our main fishery. It’s no longer available to us. Right over to Wales, the entirety of the Bristol Channel, it is rare to get bass over 42cm in length; the majority are under that size but are well over the previous MLS. We had a good fishery, and a sustainable one – with few discards.

“And with other species like skate and ray, while other EU boats fish-on, draconian UK regulations have taken away that fishery too. Also, the ban on spurdog has virtually wiped-out the once thriving North Devon inshore fleet, even line-fishers. What is left for them?

“Effectively, North Devon fishermen now have no bass, no ray and skate, and no spurdog. When will the authorities stop hitting the fishermen, especially coastal boats? Just look on AIS and find the nationality of all the boats fishing there – then try to find a UK boat – you will be lucky to find a local boat. The latest bass regulations will just force fishermen into other methods and on to other species too. It will increase the pressure on other stocks.”

Pole and live-bait bass fisherman Shamus Nicholls has stepped ashore to work on a local farm, and his anger toward illegal landings by bass anglers is growing. Further details in Fishing News soon.

Re: The Views of a UK Commercial Bass Fisherman

Thu Nov 26, 2015 9:22 pm

Awwwww boo-hooo. My crusty heart is breaking for him. All that giving out about "anglers", and he's an angler ("pole and live-bait? Deep hooking? Hah!) himself. He's complaining about the activities of unlicensed commercial fishermen, not Recreational Sea Anglers - and I doubt if he can see the difference between the two. And it seems to me, the RSA that he is complaining about are just simply better at what he does that he himself is.

As for "We had a good fishery, and a sustainable one – with few discards" yeah, few discards because the likes of him killed everything they landed.

Typical commercial fisher sector whinge - blames everybody and everything except himself and his own ilk. The tragedy is, he should be teaming up with sporting anglers to target the illegal commercial fishing, not making enemies of them.

Re: The Views of a UK Commercial Bass Fisherman

Fri Nov 27, 2015 1:22 am

Also, the ban on spurdog has virtually wiped-out the once thriving North Devon inshore fleet,
Not a hint of irony that once thriving fleets virtually wiped out the spurdog!

Re: The Views of a UK Commercial Bass Fisherman

Fri Nov 27, 2015 12:11 pm

I thought I'd copy this "excuses" post from the Super Trawler to here. it would be funny if it wasn't so true!
We could play "commercial excuse bingo" ....

We are back to the age old argument and as you say it's largely from commercial interests:

I thought the Irony of seeing "Rachel Jay" complaining online about super trawlers was unreal. - That boat was some "super trawler" when it was pair trawling the estuary up to Waterford cleaning out inshore areas. Biggest trawler in that area for a long time. :D

It's all the foreigners fault - They must catch all the inshore fish when those said fish head outside 12 miles - That's why inshore stocks are goosed in many areas. Damn Spanish. Our lads are real conservationists. :D

It's all the foreigners fault - The bastards bought up Irish boats and Irish quota. Our lads didn't take the filthy lucre or sell to the highest bidder - Damn Foreigners paid them too much for our fish. Damn wealthy Spannies spending their EU grants like that :D

It's all the anglers fault! Assholes caught all the bass back in the '80's.... Nearly wiped them out so they did. Our lads are just honest lads doing a tough job.... Bass are recovering? It is only right that we should be allowed at them again.... Before the French get them outside the 12 mile limit. Damn Frogs! :D

It's all the EU's fault - Yep! w*nkers put quotas on us. But shur in Kilmore Quay and elsewhere we will ignore the quotas and do what we want. What would a W*nker in Brussels know about our fish over here? Mesh size and square panels me hole -- the cod are everywhere! Damn EU! :)

It's the SFPA's fault - How dare they try and control us! How dare they and we only getting small subsidies from the EU and Government (Read W*nkers on any given day)... They don't stop the Spannies... They should just let us do what we want... We know best. Dem scientists are only making it up as they go... Celtic Sea Herring? Cod stocks? East Coast? Bass? Mackerel? Salmon and now mullet...Ah now... you know the score.... our lads were just doing their hard job... providing for their families! :) Damned SFPA :D

It's the Departments fault- They made us paint our reg numbers in big on the side of our boats! Treated us like criminals they did... Cars must have reg plates? Ah...but we are not in cars... We're doing nothing wrong. we are conservationists doing a hard job, out in all sorts of weather... Damn Bureaucrats! :)

It's the laws fault - They won't punish the wrongdoers so you just have to do wrong. Log book? Ye right... in a panic if we see somebody coming... The two boats that went across to the line-fishery for mackerel off the south coast of England and filled up with mackerel... ah now... that was only for the craic! :) Damned Laws :)

It everybody else's fault - you see ye all don't get it.... We own the sea. We can do what we want with it. We also own the piers and slipways... that's why we block them up. Rubbish and old nets thrown around? Now that really is the Councils fault... We're too busy doing our hard job... Providing for our families.... you know the drill :) Damned Everybody:)