The owner of one of the UK’s largest fishing tackle retailers has warned of job losses within the industry if the latest European Union proposals to ban anglers fishing for sea bass in the first half of 2018 is given the go ahead.
Speaking to the Angling Trust, the body that represents the sport in the UK, Paul Devlin, of Glasgow Angling Centre, said: “I was left speechless after learning of the latest proposals. Our Government doesn’t seem to realise that there are many jobs at risk on the recreational side of fishing and I have no doubt that if the proposals go through, there will be other job losses not just in the angling trade, but in the hotel, guiding and restaurant industries that rely on the many anglers fishing for bass.
“I think I can speak for most of the tackle trade when I say that there must be some protection for any species of fish that is under threat. However, these current proposals to ban anglers, but at the same time allow commercial fishing of these fish, are unjustified and wrong.”
Business owners in the tackle industry are writing to their MPs calling on the UK government to reject the proposal by the European Commission, fearing it would devastate the industry. The plan will be debated at a meeting in Brussels next month.
Ian Noble, Chairman of the Professional Boatman’s Association, which represents charter boat owners across the UK, said: “No targeted fishing for bass in the first six months of 2018 will see a number of charter fishing businesses go to the wall. Why should charter fishing businesses serving members of the public be put out of business while commercial fishing continues? The Commission’s proposals are totally unfair and will have a fatal impact on charter fishing operators reliant on bass fishing.”
Austin Goldsmith, a professional bass fishing guide based on the south-west coast of England, added: “This latest EU proposal could be a serious threat to my fishing charter business, while a four-ton-per-boat allowance for the commercial sector amounts to business as usual. “The proposed ban is unbalanced and puts the livelihoods of fishing guides, charter boats and tackle shops at risk. The existing regulations have already affected my turnover – this could be the final death blow.”
Industry trade body, the European Fishing Tackle Trade Association (EFTTA), the European Anglers Association (EAA) and Angling International are urging anglers and members of the industry to sign the petition below to protect the rights of anglers.
Please click here to sign the petition.
The Angling Trust has launched a campaign calling for anglers to be able to fish for bass throughout 2018 and to be able to keep one-fish-per-day from July until December – a proposal the angling industry is supporting.