Labour’s Angling Spokesperson, Martin
Salter, waded into the debate over the proposed new 40cms minimum
landing size (M.L.S) for bass, urging Fisheries Minister Ben Bradshaw
“to be bold when it comes to protecting our fish stocks”. Mr Salter
argued that the government should mover to a larger 45cms M.L.S as soon
as possible. He also suggested that the following Marine Bill could
create “a Golden Mile” of protected coastal water where only
recreational anglers could fish for finned

Speaking in
the House of Commons last week, Mr Salter said:

“I shall conclude with a few final thoughts. Why do we not go
further than the provisions in the marine Bill and create a golden
mile�”an area, let us say for argument’s sake, a mile from our coast,
free of commercial exploitation and inshore netting, where only
recreational sea angling is permitted? That approach has already been
adopted in Yorkshire and the north-east and is producing tremendous
results, not just for the recreational sea angling sector, but for
commercial fishermen, who are enjoying better fishing as a result of
better and more productive spawning grounds. If we protect that area,
it feeds the food chain, supports spawning and recruitment, and
increases biodiversity.”

He added:

“The vast majority of recreational sea angling takes
place within a mile of the shore. In fact, it takes place very close to
the shore, or actually from the shore. Why do we not go further than
the Minister suggests on the bass minimum landing size? The bass is a
wonderful sports fish species. It can be caught by bait fishing, by
spinning and by fly fishing, and it is wonderful to eat. People will
spend a lot of money to come to communities that enjoy good bass
fishing or have good bass fishing grounds. We should not be arguing
about 40 cm; 42 cm is the better size for protecting bass stocks, in
terms of the optimum spawning size. We should be moving as quickly as
possible to 45 cm, as the recreational sea angling community have
argued. I urge the Minister to be bold when it comes to protecting our
fish stocks.”