Bexhil and Battle MP backs sea anglers

Huw Merriman SUS-150610-141957001
Huw Merriman SUS-150610-141957001

Huw Merriman, MP for Bexhill and Battle, spoke up for local anglers during a debate about unfair EU restrictions on recreational sea bass fishing in Westminster last week.

Under new EU quotas, fishing for bass will be banned completely for the first six months of the year and restricted to one fish per angler and one tonne per month for inshore commercial boats.

Bexhill and Battle MP Huw Merriman attended a parliamentary debate last week in Westminster to speak up for local sea anglers.

“Whilst I support action to help bass stocks recover, this policy disproportionately targets the recreational angler and those who operate sea angling businesses,” he said.

Mr Merriman believes the EU restrictions are unfair and fail to address the real threat to the future viability of UK bass stocks.

“It may have made better environmental sense for the EU to consider a temporary commercial bass fishing ban altogether and leave anglers, who do not pose a risk to other fish species or birds, to continue to supply us with stock,” he said.

The minister for the environment and rural affairs assured Mr Merriman, and other MPs attending the debate, that he would consider the arguments raised when deciding how to move forward with the management of bass stock in our waters.

He said the debate made clear to him that there is tension between UK fisheries and EU policy.

Tim Macpherson, Angling Trust director and chairman of the Sussex Marine Region said: “Recreational fishing is a huge part of the sport here in Sussex and, as recent research has shown, has three times the economic value for the county than commercial fishing.

“I am outraged that we have been disproportionately penalised when the people who do the real damage to bass stocks are still allowed to take large amounts of fish during the breeding season.”

The debate was sought by the Angling Trust so MPs understood the ‘genuine anger and frustration’ of recreational sea anglers at the way they were treated last year by the EU fisheries ministers.

“We welcome the support of Huw in our battle and for speaking up for us in the recent parliamentary debate,” said Mr Macpherson.

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