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Anglers continue licence debate

PUBLISHED: 15:24 02 September 2010 | UPDATED: 11:58 16 September 2010

“A sea fishing rod licence may not be the best way to encourage angling in the United Kingdom.”

That was the considered response to a licence question put to Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon during an interview with a national angling weekly last month, writes Roy Webster.

“A sea fishing rod licence may not be the best way to encourage angling in the United Kingdom.”

That was the considered response to a licence question put to Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon during an interview with a national angling weekly last month, writes Roy Webster.

It was the statement that local beach anglers wanted to hear or read about, for a massive majority who visit beaches around the town either for sport or to catch fish for the table, are dead against any form of statutory control - beyond observing the appropriate size limits in the interest of fish conservation.

Yet, now we have a former England sea fishing team captain Alan Yates, complaining that sea anglers are too narrow-minded over the licence issue and should “Wake up and put their hands in their pockets.”

He went on “We should put our money on the table to give us a voice,” he insisted. “That is the best way to give us a voice. A sea licence is inevitable, and the majority of serious sea anglers agree that the sooner it happens the better.”

Yates must have been out of the country when the big debate on whether to bring in a sea licence involving consultation up and down the country concluded with officials from Defra and the Environment Agency losing the argument - and indeed the plot - against an overwhelming chorus of opposing voices at every meeting convened. That included those staged in Norfolk and Suffolk.

As regular beach anglers Paul Tovell of Gorleston and local leagues organiser Tony Thomas succinctly points out: It will require an army of bailiffs patrolling hundreds of miles of coast and special off-shore boats running spot checks for licence dodgers.

The Fisheries Minister clearly understands that as a source of revenue (the original thinking behind the proposal) attempted to implement a sea rod licence would be counter-productive.

And that is why sea anglers are most likely to remain immune from the statutory permit system for generations, unless of course the majority suddenly volunteer to pay up. It is more likely the sea will freeze over!

Right now sea fishing offers a poor return on the investment for time, bait and travelling unless you fish offshore, and recently that has been ruled out on a stormy North Sea.

However, legions of whiting are forecast to shoal up in large numbers within casting distance, many of them pan-size - an excellent eating if they are fried on the same day they are caught.

Codling may also put in an appearance as autumn approaches. Many will be last year's under-sized crop while the takable specimens available in fewer numbers may well range to 7llb or more.

On the fresh water scene the Stamp brothers from Caister, Darren and Jason, posted up four specimen carp between 20 and 30lbs on the Taswood fishery catch returns.

And at the same venue Gorleston trio Martin and Barry Slater and Kevin Boles shared a catch of four carp between 22lb and 27lb 10oz.

Match results. Great Yarmouth Nisa feeder series, River Yare: T Nash 28lbs 11oz, D Btley and J Taylor both 27lbs 10oz.

Stalham, Holly Farm South Walsham: S Watson 112lbs 14oz,

K Lawson 79lbs 12oz, D Egdeton

76lbs 15oz.

Match fixtures. Paul Day memorial open, Rive Bure tomorrow, Broads teams of four championship, river Bure September 12, entry for both 01603 400973.


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