Letter to Minister Connick
18th November, 2010Dear Minister ConnickI would like to respectfully support the stance taken by the Irish Bass Group and oppose the FIF request to have the law changed in relation to Commercial Bass fishing. As a young man in the 1960s, I worked on fishing trawlers from Howth to Dunmore East to Castletownbeare, and I was horrified even then, as a teenager, to see the callous plundering of fish stocks all around our coasts without a thought ever being given to conservation. For every ton of white fish we landed, we must have shovelled two tons of dead, undersized fish and marine life over the side.Many hundreds of trawlers doing this on a daily basis was bound to have a shocking effect on fish stocks, and we now know that it did indeed have such an effect.In my lifetime I have witnessed the decimation of the herring stocks, the destruction of the salmon stocks, the near extinction of Cod, and the almost total collapse of Bass stocks.I am now in my sixties and I am an leisure angler. I fish on a catch and return basis and enjoy the sport of fishing more than I enjoy catching fish. Bass Anglers spend money on their sport for the sport’s sake and not just for the fish we take, but having said that, we would hardly fish if the stocks were completely gone. I have a second-hand boat, bought in Ireland and VAT paid. I spend approximately six hundred euros each year on my sport and I am aware of many fellow fishermen who will never email you or put pen to paper, who spend much more than I do. This money is spent locally on tackle, fuel, repairs, maintenance, food etc.
I appeal to you to take heed of the data and continue to protect the Bass which are in slow recovery. I would also ask that sufficient resources are allocated so that the stocks are protected from illegal plundering. I ask this, not for my sake, or the sake of my fellow anglers, but for the bass stocks, for the reputation of the country, and so that my children and grandchildren will not add another species to the list of species destroyed during my lifetime by overfishing. The bass have one chance left, Minister, and you are it! We are confident you will make the right decision.Yours respectfully and sincerely