I confess that I wrote this blog on December 16 th . So I am rather late publishing but it still seems relevant or perhaps more so ?
Today Im just back from the Cornwall IFCA meeting and I have a big grin on my face , at last after God knows how many years of campaigning I was there to witness the show of hands from committee members supporting the netting ban inside our estuaries. This is just one more huge stepping stone on the way to a well managed bass fishery capable of supporting a large number of low impact high yield stakeholders . Hook and line commercial fishermen will be just as encouraged by this as the most hardened shore anglers who catch and release all Bass.
Its been the week of weeks in Bass management and campaigning and I can honestly say I feel quite emotional about whats happening. I remember perhaps 8 years ago things were looking so grim. I honestly did wonder if my son would ever have a bass fishery out there in his adulthood. The implications of the new legislation from Brussels this week is collosal . It wasn’t so long ago that we had the increase in minimum landing size , introduction of bag limits , close seasons , monthly catch allowances for commercial harvesting . Things are heading in the right direction after decades of neglectful management. Plus we have had the added bonus of mild winters enhancing Juvenile mortality figures , talking of which the man , the legend Derek Goodwin was there to witness the meeting . He is one of the countless hidden heroes in the story of Bass conservation and a true gentleman who has been taking samples of Year 0 class bass for decades.
At that meeting today I realised that I knew at least a third of the committee members , most of the IFCA staff and likewise most of the anglers there to witness the meeting. This is the result of years of dogged harassment on my part. I tend to have far more enthusiasm than base knowledge but I made it a personal mission to pester everyone I could about bass years ago . I remember then CIFCA chief officer Eddy Derryman and his next in command invited me to a private meeting following years of endless emails and phone calls from me . I focused on the MLS if i remember correctly . I was confronted with the reality that I faced a wall of bureaucracy and numerous departments , MMO , DEFRA , CIFCA . My head was spinning !! I was certainly out of my depth at that meeting and it has taken me years to get a grasp of how this all happens. There is no such thing as ”simple” where fisheries is concerned .
My input is still minimal when you look at the work done by Malcolm Gilbert over the years . Where do I start ? Steve Pitts and all the existing and former Bass restoration committee members . The list of people who have contributed over the years is very long .John Leballeur Im sure you will be watching things change in bass management from up above . Nigel Horesman , David Mitchell . I salute you all and wish you a merry Christmas !
So here were its the 1 st of March 2017 . Things have continued to move on
We have witnessed a virtual closure of bass netting . The shift towards hook and line continues through legislation and no new vessels can currently enter the bass fishery due to the requirement of proven track records of Bass landings 2015 – 2016
I did send a couple of emails to Cornwall IFCA chasing up the latest news on the Bass Nursery plans. No reply yet but thats the way it goes . DEFRA need to sign off the bylaw. It WILL happen. We have waited all these years for the changes . Whats a few extra months waiting !
Thanks for reading