Thursday, 1 December 2011

Roger's Not Happy!

Hi Cliff

Having seen your post on the Whales in Wales Web site I was sufficiently incensed to write to John Griffiths, the Environment Minister of WAG as follows:
I write to draw your attention to reports (for example at ) of “a dozen or more scallop dredgers trawling their heavy sets of dredges over the sea bed of Cardigan Bay Special Area of Conservation” just last Sunday.
I would like to mirror the comments made by Cliff Benson in the above mentioned forum where he says that “there can be no more effective way of destroying the marine animal communities for which the bay is world famous and for which it gained this designation”.
On Saturday, the fishery protection vessel HMS Tyne was moored off Aberporth. Why was it not protecting the CBSAC on Sunday?
I should welcome your explanation.
Thank you”
His eMail address is correspondence. and I would urge as many people as possible to write to him with their views.
Roger Watkins

Hi Roger,
                Sorry, I overlooked this, apologies for not adding it to the blog sooner.
Although the blog is preeminently about sightings its difficult not to occasionally get into some of the underlying issues. Its a fine line and I think in terms of airing views we will restrict it now to this and the previous posting as it does give an example of how and who to get in touch with. My local fisherman contact tells me that all fishing boats will be fitted with electronic trackers from next year. He says that this will mean far fewer smaller boats fishing for scallops because they don't want to have trackers fitted that would give away their movements during the dark hours. By inference this would seem to suggest they may be fishing where they should not be now. It would seem be extremely sensible to at least restrict the fishing to weekdays and the hours of daylight which would give fisheries protection a better chance of effective policing and cut down on expensive overtime payments. I know and respect some of our local fisheries officers, but they appear to be underresourced. It seems crazy that whilst millions of pounds worth of scallops are being taken from our waters by skippers from away, that the fisheries protection budget here  is so small. Perhaps there should be some local landing tax  to help pay for the Fisheries Protection levied on boats from away.  Of course the best thing would be for the fishery to be suspended until an environmental impact study was carried out.