Recreational anglers have urged Fisheries Minister Jonathan Shaw to reconsider his controversial plans to make them buy licences to fish in the sea.
The minister met a delegation led by Richard Ferre, Chairman of the National Federation of Sea
Anglers, and David Rowe, its chief executive, at Penzance pier during a visit to the fishing
industry in the region.
The meeting was arranged by the NFSA at the minister's request and included charter boat
skippers who take anglers to sea, owners of fishing tackle businesses and anglers who fish from
the shore or from their from own boats.
The fishing tackle and charter business owners told the minister that much of their trade came from
holidaymakers. If they had to buy a licence to go fishing for a day their trade would be lost.
Mr Shaw also watched an NFSA coach giving practical instruction on the pier to a group of young
Mr Ferre explained to the minister that there was little support for a licence because years of
carefree commercial overfishing permitted by the present and previous governments had so
damaged fishstocks that anglers seldom caught specimens anymore and any fish they did catch
were often too small to take home.
He urged the minister to legislate to protect the run down fishstocks so they would regenerate and
recover to the point where they would benefit both sea angling and commercial fishing.
The proposal for a sea angling rod licence is expected to be included in the Government's draft Marine
Bill next month. The NFSA believes that such a scheme would not generate enough cash to allow
any to be reinvested in developing sea angling.