The unelected European Commission claim that 25 per cent of bass caught fall to anglers. Anyone who has ever seen a commercial trawler in action will know this is nonsense.
But from January the 1st it will be illegal for any angler to keep a single bass. Under threat of very heavy fines of possibly up to £50,000. From July there will be a one fish limit per angler and this covers both shore and boat-caught-fish by pleasure anglers.
Yet at the same time the under ten metre commercial fleet will be allowed to catch 1.3 tonnes per month albeit with a break period from February and March which is the spawning season.
Sensible conservation measures are of course needed, but to be allowed to catch fish by the tonne for sale commercially next to a boat that’s fishing for pleasure which is allowed to land none is mad. The real reason for the ban, of course, is not conservation, but the instinctive hatred that the urban socialists running Brussels have for country sports of all kinds, especially those which involve mainly men behaving like traditional men. That’s the real target.
This will have a huge impact on the angling trade and the commercial charter boat angling fleet. Why would people pay several hundred pounds per day to hire a boat and skipper if they can’t take some fish home for supper?
It is worth understanding that expenditure on recreational sea angling is already worth more to the UK economy than the price of commercially caught fish sold at market.
These measures are utterly disproportionate and wrong. And George Eustice, our minister in charge of Fisheries, should hang his head in shame for not standing up to the Brussels bullies.
But there’s no point just complaining – use it as another reason to explain to everyone you know why we should all vote to leave when we finally get the (rigged) referendum.