Anybody with any interest in recreational sea fishing in Europe should be aware of the proposed Article 47 - see Nigel Farrage's own thoughts below. Nigel is an MEP and is the UKIP leader, and together with his two sons, they are all mad keen sea anglers. Please read Nigel's words and then sign the various petitions. There is also a forum thread all about Article 47 right here. Nigel is not just some politician who claims to love fishing because it gets him votes - I have fished with him and his sons in the past, and they are as passionate as you and I about their fishing.
"I had been enjoying a superb autumn on Dungeness beach, catching loads of codling up to 8lbs. On my last trip before Christmas I packed up at 2am. I thought how incredible it was that from April I might have to report my catch to the authorities or risk breaking the law. This is because on December 18 last year, with no prior warning, the European Commission announced that they intended to regulate sea angling. Be under no illusion, this represents the biggest threat to our sport ever and we must stand up and fight. The plan is to put sea angling on the same, discredited quota system as that used by the commercial fishermen. It will mean that ever private boat, yacht or kayak that wants to drop a line over the side will need a licence. All fish landed will need to be reported whether caught from boat or shore. Once the quota for angling is used up, any fish taken could result in a fine of £50,000! Without an army of officials, the likelihood is that many sea anglers will just become criminals, as bad laws are always treated with contempt. The odd person will be unlucky though and face massive fines. What is at stake here is not just the sport we love but one of the last freedoms that we enjoy. It must be stopped. Over the Christmas holidays I worried about the plan and I had plenty of time to do so as the easterly winds killed cod fishing stone dead. On my return to Brussels I was even more alarmed to see the plans to put these measures through at breakneck speed. We have to act now as the final vote by the European Parliament is likely to be in April. I would strongly urge everyone in the fishing community to oppose this proposal. There is no point in writing to your local MP and all power of fisheries has been given to the EU.
Tell them that you want Article 47 of the 'Council Regulation establishing a Community control system for ensuring compliance with the rules of the Common Fisheries Policy' to be deleted.
Clearly tell them you will not vote for them in the June 4 European Elections if they let you down.
Contact UK Fisheries Minister Huw Irranca-Davies at www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/huw_irranca-davies/ogmore and urge him to get Article 47 dropped.
If tens of thousands take the trouble to lobby you will be listened to. MEPs need your votes to secure their next five year term. You can put pressure on them. I am appealing to angling groups in France and Holland and urging them to do the same. Don't let Brussels bureaucrats ruin our sport or our industry.
Stand up and fight!"
Nigel Farage MEP, UKIP leader
Make sure to sign this petition here as well - we sea anglers tend to have a tradition of general apathy towards potential threats to the future of our sport, but regular people like us need to wake up and be heard. We are not commercial anglers, and I have no time for recreational anglers who sell their catch on the side - either you fish because you love it, or you are a commercial angler. In no way am I damning the commercial guys by the way, that is not my point at all. Fish commercially with a license to make a living, and come under the various rules and regulations, or fish for pleasure because you are an angler. Any attempt by the powers that be to bring recreational anglers under the same regulatory umbrella as the commercial sector has to be stopped.
There is a good newspaper article online about the proposed Article 47, click here. Those charter fleets we see in our ports are having a tough time of it as it is, but now imagine you can't go out pollack or cod fishing later this year because there is no more quota left. Sure, you could go and catch a few and then watch them float off dead in the tide because you can't legally take them home and eat them, but who's going to do that ? I would support any logical measure to fine the hell out of any recreational angler who is caught selling their fish, and I am completely behind measures to protect our (dwindling) fish stocks, but recreational fishing must not be allowed to come under the commercial quota systems.