SIFT have forwarded a Regulating Order (a legal instrument created under the Sea Fisheries (Shellfish) Act 1967 ) application which they say aims to transform the way that the Firth of Clyde, one of the UK’s most altered fisheries, can be managed.
As anglers are well aware, what was once a plentiful and diverse fishery is now essentially a monoculture supporting a shellfish fishery.
In the Application, SIFT identify that overfishing and the widespread use of damaging mobile fishing gears – particularly seabed trawls and dredges – have been widely accepted as the primary causes of the collapse of the Clyde’s finfish population.
The core element of the proposal is to change the current fishing pattern so that, while mobile fishing continues to be allowed in the great majority of the Clyde, it will be restricted in certain areas, which will either become available for creeling and diving, or would be closed to all fishing. This will protect the seabed, which will provide refuges for shellfish, finfish and other biodiversity, thereby enabling the fishery to become both more productive and diversified.
The Clyde is surrounded by communities which would benefit from a more diversified fishery and a healthier marine ecosystem. SIFT’s economic analysis is that the Clyde could then support hundreds more jobs than it currently does. These jobs would also be more secure if the fishery was more diversified.
The proposal also aims to promote equity; it will manage the Clyde in the interests of all stakeholders including recreational sea anglers, wildlife tourism operators, boat charter companies, hotel owners, scientists, divers and environmentalists as well as commercial fishermen. In contrast, current fisheries management policy appears to largely favour the mobile gear fishing fleet as opposed to other sectors.
It will come as no surprise to sea anglers that the proposal will inevitably meet with resistance from this sector as it has a long history of refusing to work constructively with recreational interests in order to help re-build what was once one of Europe’s prime go to angling destination.
The full document in pdf format can be found here.
Category: Other Organisations