New ideas promising “commonsense management” of inshore sea fisheries in England may be starting to take hold but will only happen if the £1 billion sea angling industry keeps “an adversarial, not a cosy, relationship” with politicians.
Plans for marine protected zones and new conservation authorities replacing the 1880s-style sea fisheries committees, were early signs of emerging progress, said to Mike Heylin, chairman of the Angling Trust.
Having zones protected from commercial activities would enable proper management and study not only of the fish in them but their whole marine ecology.
“Recreational sea anglers want a retreat from the irresponsible commercial fishing that started in 1970s and so badly damaged sea beds and fish stocks, to the detriment of commercial and recreational fishing,” he said in a letter to The Times at the weekend (November 7).
After publication of his letter, Mr. Heylin said: “It has always seemed to sea anglers that politicians and civil servants were more intent on appeasing commercial overfishing than acting as custodians of our public fisheries.”