March 2015 – News

A number of significant restrictions on anglers have been announced this month. The most important is that anglers around most of the UK coastline (with some exceptions in northern Scotland and parts of Northern Ireland) are now limited to retaining a maximum of three bass per angler per day under new European laws. The restrictions are linked to the limitations which have been put in place on commercial fishing for bass during the Spring breeding season and are part of the overall package of measure to halt the alarming decline in bass stocks. The news has been met with a mixed reception from the angling community with some seeing it as a positive measure to restore bass stocks and others seeing it as sea anglers being punished for the commercial fisheries destruction of bass stocks. Regardless of opinion the three bass bag limit on bass is here to stay for the foreseeable future. Read the official European Commission page on this topic by clicking here.

It was also announced that sea anglers would no longer be able to use slipper limpets as a sea fishing bait from March 2015 onwards. This is because slipper limpets are actually an invasive species which was introduced to the UK through ballast water in ships. They are now established across the southern coasts of England and Wales and have begun to smother shellfish beds and outcompete native shellfish species for food. This has had such an impact on valuable shellfish species such as mussels and oysters that the UK government has put measures in place to limit the spread of this species. These measure ban the release of live or fresh slipper limpets into the sea, which includes using this species as a sea angling bait. While many anglers, especially those around the south, may have used slipper limpets as a bait this is now an offence and alternative baits should be used. Read the official UK government press release on this topic by clicking here.

The UK was slammed this month for being the worst nation in the European Union for overfishing in its own waters. The report – by the New Economic Foundation – stated that while countires such as France and Denmark would also overfish in their waters, Britain was the worst culprit, with mackerel quotas set way higher than scientific advice recommended. The report also pointed out that if European fisheries were allowed to recover then the fishing industry could raise an additional €3.2billion, support 100,000 extra jobs and provide food for 160 million European citizens. Read the report here.

A trawler captain claimed his boat was nearly capsized when a Russian nuclear submarine collided with his submerged fishing gear. Angus Macleod, 46, said that his nets were continually pulled in front of his boat as he was fishing off the Outer Hebrides. Mr. Macleod said that he had to constantly rev the engine and manoeuvre his boat to avoid the nets becoming entangled in his propeller, and when the net eventually broke free over £10,000 of damage had been caused to his boat and he had also lost his entire catch. Mr. Macleod believed that the incident could only have been caused by a nuclear submarine becoming entangled in his nets. As the Royal Navy claimed that no British or NATO submarines were operating in the area it was believed that it could have been a Russian submarine which caused the incident. Read more here.

Wet Wipes were highlighted as a major source of pollution on UK beaches last month. The Marine Conservation Society’s beach pollution survey found that beach litter had risen across much of the UK, with Wet Wipes becoming a particular problem as they do not disintegrate in the sewerage system and if they do reach the open ocean the high plastic content means that they will last for a very long time. Read more here.

A man who thought he had found a lump of whale vomit worth £100,000 found out this month that it was actually worth nothing. The substance – actually called Ambergris – is produced by sperm whales to protect their digestive system, but is sometimes vomited out. While the vast majority of Ambergris never discovered by humans the small amount which reaches shore is extremely valuable as it is used in manufacturing expensive perfumes. Ken Wilman, 52, found what he thought was Ambergris on Morecambe beach in 2013. If it had been real Ambergris several companies offered him tens of thousands of pounds for it. However, this month he found out that it was, in fact, not Ambergris and was worth nothing. Read the Daily Mail article on this story here.