News and Views.
All Italian Recreational Fishers to be Registered this Spring
The Italian authorities want to get a better insight into the number of recreational sea fishers
and the kind of fishing they perform. This will enable them to be better able to meet data
collection requirements from EU legislation and to collect some basic information for figuring
out what additional information and measures might be needed for Italian sea fisheries
At present recreational fishermen in Italy don´t need a license. The present initiative is not
introducing licenses instead it will be free of charge mandatory registration scheme. The
registered fisher gets a certificate as proof of registration. It is free of charge for those who
register on time. However, if the fisherman is caught after the 1 May without having registered
then he/she will have ten days to register in order to avoid penalties.
EFTTA is happy to see the Italian authorities showing some genuine interest in the
recreational fishing sector. We hope they are not just interested in catch data but also take
into account the socio economic impact as well as the jobs created by the recreational fishing
sector, in particular from sea angling – rod and line.
We would like to take the opportunity to urge the Italian Ministry not to overlook the provisions
and requirements for socio-economic data as requested by EU legislative acts like the Data
Collection Regulation, the Fisheries Control Regulation, the Marine Strategy Framework
Directive and other binding or non-binding provisions in other acts of relevance to fisheries
management, spatial planning, rural development and tourism.
This will make sure that the Recreational Fishing Sector will be treated in its own right, on an
equal footing with commercial fishing, for its good value and contribution by recreational
fishers, local communities and the society as a whole.
In fact EU and Member States ought to team up regularly to produce all-European socio-
economic studies of recreational sea and freshwater fishing like what has been happening in
the USA every five year since 1955. Ideally once every three years would be preferable in
Europe. By co-ordinating efforts across borders better data can be provided, at more regular
intervals and more cost effectively.
We would also like to stress that “recreational fishing” is a generic term, which covers several
kinds of recreational fishing (e.g. anglers/rod and line, nets, pots, long-lines, spearfishing).
These different segments should be identified and dealt with in their own right when working
out provisions, data collection and research schemes for the recreational fishing sector.
Finally, we are a puzzled why the Ministry has changed the wording (5 February) on the
registration page from “Pesca sportive e ricreativa” to “Pesca sportiva”. It is evident that this
new registration scheme is for all recreational fishers to sign up to, not sport fishers only.
- ENDS –
Notes to editors:
EFTTA Contact: Jan Kappel, Lobbyist
- Italian Ministry communication to the recreational fishers with a link to the
registration form to fill in: http://pescasportiva.politicheagricole.gov.it/
- More about this registration scheme can be read on the APR website:
- ASA leaflet: “Sportfishing in America”
- U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service: “2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-
Associated Recreation National Overview”, Issued May 2007
This is interesting from the Italians. Looks to me like a “fishing permit! but free!!
given under the auspices of information gathering so that angling can benefit
from concise and precise information. That the socio economic benefits
derived from this information could then be used to give angling the
recognition it is due. Pardon me for being a cynic... but this looks to me like the
foreplay to an Italian fishing licence concealed in the Trojan Horse of good
Minister Promises to Involve Anglers in Decision-Making
At the Angling Summit, held on Monday, Environment and Fisheries Minister Richard
Benyon MP promised that the marine and freshwater angling community would be
closely involved in decision-making at a local level and nationally through its
representative body, the Angling Trust. As an example he indicated that he was
prepared to take “bold decisions” with regard to the recently announced review of
cormorant licensing and that his officials were meeting with the Angling Trust to draw up
the terms of reference for this review.
He also said that the Government was looking for new ways of maximising the many
benefits of the nation’s favourite pastime to society. He recognised the huge
contribution that angling already makes to protecting the freshwater and marine
environment, its importance for health and wellbeing and its contribution to the
economy, in particular rural areas and coastal towns.
The Minister pledged that the Government would do all it could to make it easier for
angling clubs and associations to operate by reducing red tape and regulation which
often deters volunteers from organising activities for young people at a local level. He
also indicated that the Government was keen to adopt a catchment-based approach to
Building trust between anglers and the Government was also high on the agenda with
many sea angling representatives concerned about the proposed data collection project
recently proposed by Defra. The Angling Trust stressed that marine fish stocks were
suffering only because of decades of commercial overfishing; regulation of sea anglers
would therefore be unfair.
More than 100 delegates, representing all sectors of the angling and fisheries
community, heard presentations from a range of speakers about good practice for
increasing the social, environmental and economic benefits of angling. All attendees
then took part in workshops to identify ways of increasing the number of people going
fishing and the many benefits of angling to society.
Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust, spoke at the conference and said
afterwards: “We welcome this event as an indication that the Government is keen to
listen and to acknowledge the importance of angling in all its forms. However, after
decades of decreasing recognition of angling we need to see real action to follow up on
the fine words. The Angling Trust will continue to press the Government and its
agencies to increase angling access and to restore marine and freshwater fish stocks,
many of which are in terminal decline.”
Sea Angling Matters
Representation for Sea Anglers by Sea Anglers
Some Leopards Reluctant To Change Their Spots
We have been keeping tabs on the new IFCAs and monitoring the change of attitudes, or the lack of
change, of the members compared to members of the old SFCs. Given that many have transferred
from the SFCs to the IFCAs, and also that most of the salaried officers have transferred as well, old
attitudes seem to have been transferred as well. The idea was that SFCs were no longer fit for purpose
and that new organisations with a new remit should replace them. The constitution of the Cornwall
IFCA states: “They [IFCA members] must represent the economic, social and environmental needs of
Cornwall and in order to ensure balance within the Committee there will be a selection of those that
utilize the sea fisheries resources, those that seek to ensure marine nature conservation and other
Yet at the first Cornwall IFCA meeting in October the following was recorded in the minutes: “The Vice-
Chairman [Geoff Brown] expressed his concerns regarding the imbalance of professional fishermen on
the IFCA and stated that although there were representatives from commercial divers there was a
need to ensure representation from those involved in front line delivery of fishing in the County. He
therefore sought clarification as to whether the IFCA could co-opt further members to fill what was a
significant gap in expertise.”
Other IFCA members seem to show a similar resistance to change to meet the new remit. The
following are examples:
Roger Thomas, chairman of the new Sussex IFCA told PH: "The fishing industry is an essential part of
our culture that contributes not only to the economic good of the nation but also plays a central role in
tourism and the wellbeing of Sussex. I will fight tooth and nail to ensure that the future of the industry is
secure and that the families of fishermen have a positive future."
Mr Brown, Senior Fisheries Officer of the North Western SFC says “Numbers of part-time and leisure
fishermen and anglers continue to rise „filling the void left by the shrinking commercial sector‟, and the
management of these fisheries presents new and different challenges”.
Fishing News‟ opinion on IFCAs is that: “Given the modern heavy emphasis on the environment and
'sustainability', it is no accident that the new bodies incorporate the word Conservation in their titles.
The big worry now is that the environmental elements in the IFCAs will be sympathetic to this aspect of
the IFCAs' remit, to the detriment of the fishing interests, who appear to be outnumbered in the new
organizations. Only time will tell if these fears are justified”.
Some people do appear to realise that the management of our inshore fish stocks has got to change,
as shown below:
Dr Stephen Atkins, chief executive of the North Western SFC, said in his final quarterly report: “IFCAs
will have a broader remit to manage the whole marine environment within their district, of which
fisheries are a part. They will be expected to take a holistic and integrated view of the sea, which will
protect the species and habitat features which are in decline or vulnerable to damaging activities, while
providing the highest quality environment to support the production and extraction of vital food
resources for people."
Let us know what is happening in your IFCA and area at email@example.com
Hopefully Richard Benyon and the MMO will be monitoring the minutes and actions of the IFCAs and
will ensure that they do meet their proper remits and new responsibilities.
The Shark Trust’s Angler Recording Project
There are a surprising number of shark species in British and Irish waters – more than 30 if the deep-
water species are included. Some of these species the public are familiar with; some species anglers
know and love; and some are only seen by offshore fishermen and researchers. All of them, however,
are vulnerable to overfishing – with the protection and management of cartilaginous fish (sharks,
skates and rays) many years behind that for the more commercially important bony fish.
With an EU requirement for all commercial vessels to land fish by species it is tempting to think that we
know everything that is happening with our stocks: we know exactly which species are being caught
and, thanks to logbooks and satellite tracking, we know exactly where they are caught. But we
shouldn‟t be lulled into complacency. One major problem is that this data does not take into account
discards. It is estimated that 10-60% (depending on the fishery) of the commercial catch in the EU is
thrown back. Compared to other fish, sharks, skates and rays are relatively robust animals that survive
being discarded well – they do not have a swim bladder that can rupture due to the pressure change
on the way to the surface, and it has been estimated that as many as 98% of discarded Lesser Spotted
Dogfish may survive. However this rate drops for other, larger species and any management plan that
does not take into account discarded animals is unlikely to be successful in the long term.
Another problem is that it is very difficult to take into account the constant creep of technology. Over
the years vessels become more efficient: fishing gear improves and it gets easier to find the fish thanks
to bottom sounders, fish finders and the like. All other things being equal, if a stock remains stable then
landings will increase over time; but if a stock is decreasing landings can actually remain stable, or
even increase, for a period before a crash. If this is not picked up a crash can occur with little warning.
This is what happened to the Grand Banks cod in the Northwest Atlantic back in the early 90‟s.
The obvious solution to these problems is to collect data from as many different sources and through
as many means as possible to give a clearer picture of what is happening to our fish. For this reason
the Shark Trust is starting a pilot project in the Southwest of England asking anglers to record all of the
sharks, skates and rays they catch. For sharks this covers everything from Porbeagle and Blue Sharks
to the humble Doggie and Bullhuss; for skates and rays everything from Common Skate down to
Cuckoo Rays, as well as rare visitors such as stingrays and electric rays.
The information sent in by anglers will be collated and analysed at the Shark Trust office in Plymouth.
From here it will be made available in the form of maps and reports, although personal details and
specific fishing marks will be remain strictly confidential (with marks „generalised‟ when mapping).
Over the next few years it will develop into an independent dataset that can feed into more effective
fisheries management and consultations on the designation of marine protected areas.
To get involved in the project contact the Shark Trust at firstname.lastname@example.org or on (01752)
672020 for an information pack and recording forms. Alternatively you can visit www.sharktrust.org/hlf
to find out more about the project and use the online recording form to report your catches.
The Shark Trust
Abuse It – Lose It!
The marks which RSAs have traditionally fished are under threat. This is due in part to increased
numbers of other users or stakeholders, and in part to the thoughtless actions of some anglers who
leave litter and discarded tackle and bait when they have finished. We would urge all responsible
RSAs to take all their rubbish home, and also tidy up after other thoughtless anglers.
We would also suggest that all RSAs consider angling insurance to cover themselves against third
party claims, especially when fishing piers and other marks used by other people. This is often
available at reasonable costs through clubs and federations.
The commercial fishermen of Newlyn Harbour have been complaining about human excrement being
found on the pier where they land fish. As these problems have occurred overnight whilst there have
been anglers fishing, anglers have become the prime suspect. Cornish readers inform us that at
present the Harbour Master, Andrew Munson, does not intend to stop RSAs from using the pier.
However, there are fears that overnight angling may be stopped and the purchase of permits by day
In Torquay two anglers were taken to court for fishing the Inner Harbour in the early hours of a
morning. Both were given a conditional discharge and were not ordered to pay costs.
After the case, Captain Kevin Mowat said, "We have made significant efforts to publicise the fact that
such fishing is unlawful because of the risks it creates. We have warned anglers with signage. We
delivered a highly publicised newspaper campaign and we even put up physical barriers, but the illegal
fishing has continued. Recreational fishing is a popular pastime and the harbour authority enjoys a
good relationship with the vast majority of legitimate law abiding anglers. The seaward side of Princess
Pier is a popular angling site and I hope we can continue to support fishing in that location. However,
our priority will continue to be public safety and our focus will be on those who pay to use the harbour.
We will continue to monitor this problem and any offenders can expect to be prosecuted."
We also hear from Sussex readers that Rother District Council is proposing to introduce two bye-laws
that will affect RSAs:
The first will ban fishing on the beach in certain areas from 9.00 to 18.00, from 1st May to 30th
September. The second will forbid fishing 'in such a manner as to cause danger, obstruction or
annoyance to any person using the seashore'. This applies to the WHOLE of Rother shoreline e.g.
Pevensey Bay, Herbrand Walk, Bexhill and Pett Level to Camber.
If you want to support Sussex RSAs, you can sign the petition at
Alternatively contact Anthony Leonard, Director of Services through email@example.com
Not only do we need to be squeaky clean as individual RSAs, but we also need to make sure that
other more thoughtless anglers do not spoil things.
Further to our statement in the February issue, URSA does not claim to represent or speak on behalf
of recreational sea anglers. We believe that to be really effective RSAs must speak up for themselves.
There are national and local organisations which RSAs can join if they wish to be represented, or at
times misrepresented. This is why we use the slogan “Representation for Sea Anglers by Sea
Anglers”. RSAs are most effective when roused and personally lobbying for what they want, as shown
by the campaigns against Article 47 two years ago.
What URSA does try and do is to be:
Does controlling apex predators such as seals, otters and cormorants work to preserve fish stocks?
These animals are at the top of the food chain, and have few if any predators, apart from man, when
they are full grown and in their prime, apart from man. Many are considered charismatic by the general
public, such as wolves, big cats, otters, seals and sharks. Man has become a super-predator operating
in an unsustainable fashion.
Apex predators keep prey animals in check, and also keep the prey population healthy by weeding out
the sick, old and slow animals. In the case of some carnivores, such as wolves, they keep the prey
animals on the move and help prevent caribou from over-grazing areas. They also keep smaller
predators under control which might otherwise upset the balance at the bottom of the food chain.
Apex predators are a key ingredient in healthy ecosystems, and without them there is an imbalance
leading to population explosions and crashes. With apex predators in place, there is a cyclical
equilibrium with high and low points, but that is always capable of self-adjustment. In marine
ecosystems there are a larger numbers of apex predators than in land ecosystems, but they tend to be
slower growing and breed at a slower rate.
Studies involving the removal or control of a limited number of predators from small areas show that
over a period of years the same numbers of predators are removed annually. In other words, as
predators are removed, others move in from neighbouring areas to take advantage of less crowded
conditions and a more plentiful food supply. The incomers are maintaining the balance of the
ecosystem. To be effective, a large number of predators must be removed from a significant area, and
then a programme implemented to remove lesser predators which will tend to increase.
The final consideration in the control of predators is public opinion. Most voters disagree with the killing
of one animal so that another can be harvested or caught and released for recreational purposes.
References: A Sherratt-Ayerst, Mark D Smith, Colin Dunn
EU Charter Recognises RSA
The final version of the EU Charter on Angling has been published, and covers both fresh (coarse) and
saltwater (sea) angling. The full title is the European Charter on Recreational Fishing and Biodiversity,
and a pdf version can be found at:
Included in the objectives are
? To encourage recreational fisher involvement in monitoring, management, and research efforts
directed towards stewardship and the conservation of fish and their habitats.
? To encourages recreational fisher education, awareness and information measures.
The recommendations include:
? To impose only those restrictions on fishing methods and means which can be justified from the
standpoint of conservation and that will be easily understood by recreational fishers and accepted as
fair and equitable by other legitimate users of publically-owned fish stocks [our bold type].
? To have transparent regulatory processes which allow for the active participation of recreational
fishers and other stakeholders.
? To assist in the development and acceptance of effective regulations.
RSAs in the UK need to be fully aware of these objectives and recommendations and ensure that they
are known by local politicians, especially councillors on IFCAs, MPs and MEPs. We also need to
ensure that these objectives are implemented by the new IFCAs. If they are not, then the IFCAs need
to be taken to task, and we will happily publicise those that don‟t as well as those that do. So let us
know what is happening in your area at firstname.lastname@example.org .
New.......April 2011 URSA Newsletter.
Whether it is a good thing or not to divide Sea Anglers loyalty is a
question that any thinking Sea Angler will agonise over. On the other
hand it has been said and comprehensively argued that the Angling
Trust for all their good intentions, is not forceful enough in arguing
the Sea Anglers corner, nor it seems are they capturing the support
of the majority of Sea Anglers. Had they been doing so then the
URSA would never have seen the light of day.
I have been trying via emails to find out more about URSA. Where it
has come from, the people involved and so on. So far no replies at
all. I am beginning to wonder if it is the offended ego’s of the ex
NFSA coterie trying to re-establish something which is dead and
buried. Far better this effort was focussed on helping the Angling
Trust... at least that is how it appears to me......
Union of Recreational Sea Anglers.