Anglers urge minister: "Think again on licences"

Recreational anglers today (Monday 11th
February, 2008) urged the fisheries minister, Jonathan Shaw, to
reconsider his controversial plans to make them buy licenses to fish in
the sea.

The minister
met a delegation led by Richard Ferré, chairman of the National
Federation of Sea Anglers (NFSA), and David Rowe, its chief executive,
at Penzance pier during a visit to the fishing industry in the
region.

The meeting was arranged by the NFSA at
the minister’s request and included  charter boat skippers who
take anglers to sea, owners of fishing tackle businesses and anglers
who fish from the shore or from their from own boats.

The fishing tackle and charter business owners told the minister
that much of their trade came from holidaymakers.  If they had
to buy a license to go fishing for a day their trade would be
lost.

Mr. Shaw also watched an NFSA coach giving
practical instruction on the pier to a group of young anglers.

Mr. Ferré explained to the minister that there was
little support for a license because years of carefree commercial
overfishing permitted by the present and previous governments had so
damaged fishstocks that anglers seldom caught specimens anymore and any
fish they did catch were often too small to take
home.    
He urged the minister
to legislate to protect the run down fishstocks so they would
regenerate and recover to the point where they would benefit both sea
angling and commercial fishing.

The proposal for
a sea angling rod license is expected to be included in government’s
draft Marine Bill next month.  The NFSA believes that such a
scheme would not generate enough cash to allow any to be reinvested in
developing sea angling.

Mr. Ferré thanked the
minister for spending more than an hour listening to and discussing,
the problems of sea angling.  The NFSA , he said, looked
forward to continuing to work with him and his officials to solve the
problems of both licensing and the devastated fishstocks in coastal
waters.