Ian Burrett, SSACN’s Chairman had the great pleasure of attending the Dutch Sharkatag on the 13th and 14th August as the guest of Sportvisseriej Nederland (Sports Fishing Netherland).
Opening the event in front of over 100 VIP’s from the Netherlands including politicians, government employees, scientists and fisheries people, Ian’s 15 minute presentation outlined the successes the SSTP has had over the past few years and where we would like to go with a European tagging programme.
Of great interest to everyone was a map which plotted Dutch smoothhound recaptures alongside SSTP recaptures – it came as a surprise to many that the majority of recaptures of fish from both programmes occurred in the English Channel – In resultant discussions, it was decided the two organisations would work together to carry out further research on smoothhound distribution and migration patterns.
Although Dutch elasmobranchs numbers have shown an improvement in recent years with larger numbers of smoothhound showing up and even the odd tope and lesser spotted catshark, an image from 1890 showing hundreds of common skate at a fish market in Holland caused quite a stir as they have been extinct in Dutch waters for over 40 years.
It is hoped that SSACN’s recent success in proposing Marine Protected Areas in the Argyll area will gain further traction and ultimately help regenerate stocks across the whole of the North Sea.
Nearly 300 anglers ventured to sea in blustery conditions on eleven charter boats; although the fishing didn’t match up to previous years plenty of smoothhound and few stingrays were caught. The Dutch Programme has now tagged nearly 2000 smoothhounds and has had 60 recaptures.
SSACN would like to thank Sportvisseriej Nederland and everyone else involved for being such fabulous hosts and who made Ian feel so welcome; a special thanks to Irene Kingma from the Dutch Elasmobranch Society for acting as Ian’s chaperone over the three days.
The Dutch Elasmobranch Society is planning a big research programme in the North Sea and we are sure SSACN will work together with them and the Sportvisseriej Nederland as part of a bigger project in the near future.