Sea Fishing News

Read all of the latest news about angling, commercial fishing, conservation and other issues relating to the marine environment.

July 2022 News

Poacher who illegally caught £60,000 of trout and salmon escapes jail: A poacher who caught trout and salmon worth £60,000 over a seven-year period has been fined but escaped a jail sentence. Emlyn Rees, 35, from Carmarthenshire caught 939 trout and 302 salmon using nets on the River Teifi. He was apprehended when Natural Resources Wales found one of the nets he had set and waited overnight for him to return. While he escaped from the scene he was later tracked down to his home where a detailed record of the catches he had made over the years was discovered. The judge at Rees’s trial expressed frustration that no custodial option was available and instead fined him £1,600. A confiscation order of £61,791 was also handed to Rees, but as he had no assets or savings he was only made to pay a nominal sum of £1. Ann Weedy from Natural Resources Wales said that Rees’s actions had caused “staggering” damage to trout and salmon stocks in the region and went on to say: “The sheer scale of the number of fish caught has undoubtedly resulted in a significant and unsustainable loss of breeding potential.” Read more on the Guardian website here.

Tyre dust could be more significant threat to oceans than realised: The small particles which break away from car tyres could be a much greater threat to ocean life than previously believed. Research carried out at Washington State University has found that chemicals which are contained in the rubber of tyres are highly toxic to fish. Tiny particles of rubber which break away from tyres can be blown into the sea by the wind, but it is believed that rainwater washing tyre particles into storm drains which then empty into the sea is the biggest threat. The Guardian reported that an average tyre can lose 4kg (8.8lbs) of rubber over its lifetime and six million tons of tyre particles are emitted worldwide annually. Despite the potential threat posed to marine ecosystems the damage that tyre particles can cause to the environment is poorly understood, with fewer than one hundred academic papers being published on this topic. Click here to read more on this story.

Huge halibut caught by North Sea trawler: A 266lbs (120kg) halibut has been caught by a commercial vessel in the North Sea. The fish was landed in Peterhead in Scotland and will make around 450 individual fillets. Halibut is the largest flatfish species and one of the largest fish of any kind in the sea, reaching a maximum size of 15ft in length and over 700lbs in weight. Read more on this story here.

UK’s best beach announced by Sunday Times: Sandhaven Beach in South Shields has been declared the Sunday Times beach of the year. Over 800 beaches across the UK were in contention for the award, with Sandhaven coming out on top and a number of other beaches in the Northeast being included in the top ten. The Sunday Times praised the “immaculate golden sands” of Sandhaven Beach and the opportunities the beach and surrounding areas provided for joggers, surfers, paddle boarders and “the beach casters with their rods.” Read more on the Sunday Times website here.

Wild salmon at lowest numbers on record in England: An article in this month’s Guardian reported that wild salmon numbers were reaching a “crisis point” with the species “slipping closer to extinction” in the wild in England. The Environment Agency found that salmon were either ‘at risk’ or ‘probably at risk’ in thirty-seven of forty-two English rivers, with pollution, warming seas and barriers to salmon migration such as dams and weirs all contributing to the decline. Kevin Austin from the Environment Agency was quoted in the Guardian as saying that “urgent action” was needed and there was the possibility that “wild Atlantic salmon could be lost from our rivers in our lifetimes” unless action is taken soon. Read more on this story by clicking here.

Dangerous Portuguese man o’ war found across British Isles: Reports across the media have stated that large numbers of jellyfish are likely to be present across the coastlines of Britain and Ireland this summer. Warming seas, a lack of predators and an increasing amount of plankton (which jellyfish feed on) have seen the number of jellyfish rise significantly in recent years. The Independent reported that large concentrations of compass jellyfish have been seen off the coast of Wales, and lion’s mane jellyfish off northern England and Scotland. Read more here. While the lion’s mane jellyfish can deliver a sting which is usually compared to a bee or nettle sting, a much more dangerous jellyfish-like creature has been found washed up on Irish beaches. The Portuguese man o’ war has been found across beaches in western Ireland with a smaller number found on Northern Irish beaches. This species can deliver a sting with its tentacles which is extremely painful and can leave red welt marks on skin for days afterwards. While most people recover from Portuguese man o’ war stings within a few hours a small number of people can require hospital treatment and in very rare cases stings have proven to be fatal. Read more on this story on the BBC website here.

EU fishing fleets accused of targeting juvenile sharks in North Atlantic: A report released by Greenpeace this month has said that EU fishing fleets are intentionally targeting juvenile sharks in the North Atlantic. Greenpeace said that the fleets, mostly from Spain and Portugal, are setting 1,200km (745 miles) of baited long lines containing an estimated 15,000 – 28,000 hooks every day. It also said that both nations claim to champion protecting the seas and oceans while allowing their respective commercial fishing industries to carry out ever more efficient and destructive fishing. Greenpeace has called for a Global Ocean Treaty to “fix the broken system of ocean management” and protect 30 per cent of the world’s oceans by the year 2030. Click here to read the full Greenpeace report.

Salmon farming company loses bid to expand: Mowi, the multi-billion pound Norwegian fish farming company, has been denied permission to expand one of its farms in the Scottish highlands following a campaign by the local community. Mowi’s Creag an T’Sagairt fish farm in Loch Hourn already produces 2,500 tons of salmon each year and the company had been looking to increase this to 3,100. However, Friends of Loch Hourn, a local community group, commissioned scientific research which showed that expanding the farm would lead to an increase in parasitic lice which would threaten wild salmon populations. There would also be an increase in the levels of chemicals used to treat salmon, and these would not flush out of the slow-flowing waters of the loch. Following this, the planning committee for the area voted 7 – 6 against expanding the fish farm, despite a late concession by Mowi to reduce the additional output of the farm to 2,750 tons instead of 3,100 tons. The local campaigners said that they believe this was the first time a Scottish fish farm had been denied permission to expand due to the threat posed to wild fish. Long seen as a success story and heavily promoted by the Scottish government, the environmental impact fish farming is having on Scotland’s coastal ecosystems is becoming increasingly apparent and it remains to be seen whether the industry will continue to expand at the rate it previously has. Read more on this story by clicking here.

New documentary claims that sharks have reached “insane” sizes: A new documentary which is set to be aired this month has claimed that great white sharks in the South Pacific have reached some of the largest sizes ever recorded after feeding on prey in a new no-fishing zone. The zone off the coast of Hawaii, one of the first to specifically ban fishing for sharks, has seen great whites which are 20ft (6m) long, compared to their usual largest size of 15 (4.5m) – 16ft (4.8m). The findings mirror previous studies which found that the average size of tiger sharks increased when a shark sanctuary was established off the coast of French Polynesia a decade ago. There the species which usually grows to 12ft (3.6m) in length, reached 16ft (4.8m). The documentary will air on National Geographic Wild on 22nd July, read more here.

Read our news archive of all of the sea fishing news going back to the start of 2014:

News Archive – 2022

News Archive – 2021

News Archive – 2020

News Archive – 2019

News Archive – 2018

News Archive – 2017

News Archive – 2016

News Archive – 2015

News Archive – 2014

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