Cornwall news Tuna tourism sport fishing plan for Cornwall 'irresponsible' UK news

MetiNews.Com - MP Derek Thomas' proposals have sparked anger from marine conservationists

Cornwall news Tuna tourism sport fishing plan for Cornwall 'irresponsible' UK news

MetiNews.Com - MP Derek Thomas' proposals have sparked anger from marine conservationists

Cornwall news  Tuna tourism sport fishing plan for Cornwall 'irresponsible' UK news
23 February 2021 - 06:15

Breaking News ! Conservationists and the Green Party have said they oppose a Cornwall MP’s proposal for a catch and release bluefin tuna fishery - aimed at boosting tourism. Derek Thomas, Conservative MP for St Ives, west Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, recently teamed up with Plymouth-based Labour MP Luke Pollard to lobby the Government to approve the plan. The fishery would allow people to hunt bluefin tuna, which are huge Atlantic fish which can weigh up to 700kg (1,500 lbs), and be as long as ten feet long. Bluefin tuna are endangered, however, and were absent from Cornish waters for nearly a century - only reappearing in the last decade. Both the Green Party and Cornwall Wildlife Trust are opposed to the fishery on the grounds it could set back the “vulnerable” species and cause damage to conservation efforts. Mr Thomas said the fishery would help boost the charter boat and recreational fishing industries after a tough year due to coronavirus. “This new fishery would give a new selling point in an industry that is worth more than commercial fishing to the UK economy,” he said. “Having worked with Cornish charter boat operators on this issue I know they would seize the opportunity of being able to participate in a catch-and-release fishery for bluefin tuna. “It could be a real tourism boost for Cornwall and Devon. I know plenty of charter boat operators in Penzance and St Ives in particular that would welcome this chance to trial this science-led project here in the westcountry.” However, Matt Slater, fisheries officer for Cornwall Wildlife Trust, pointed out the risks of even catch-and-release fishing and said the charity does not think it is a good idea. Derek Thomas “We are concerned," he said. "They’re amazing creatures which have been fished heavily for centuries. “Stocks have appeared to slightly improve and we’ve seen the welcome return of bluefin tuna to Cornish waters after a long absence. “They’re huge, and quick - they can get up to speeds of 40mph and you need a large hook. “It’s going to result in potential for injury. Scientists say the success rates have been great, but a more open fishery with less experienced people might change that.

. “They’re fragile animals and you’re tiring it out.” Mr Slater added that conservationists worry even a well-policed fishery with the best intentions could encourage unregulated hunting of bluefin tuna. “Ten years ago I’d not have believed you if you told me bluefin tuna would return to Cornish waters," he said. "Opening up a fishery needs to be done very carefully. “It’s easy to get excited about potential economic benefits, but it’s a species recovering from overfishing. “We are not really in support of it opening.” You can stay up-to-date on the top news near you with CornwallLive's FREE newsletters – find out more about our range of daily and weekly bulletins and sign up here or enter your email address at the top of the page. Similarly, marine conservationist Samuel Ramsden said, on behalf of the Cornwall Green Party, that the project is “irresponsible”. He said: “Mr Thomas is lobbying the Government to approve a new ‘catch and release’ fishery to enable more bluefin tuna to be hunted by sports fishermen. “He claims this would be helpful in enabling these fish to be tagged to assist in conservation work. But this shows that Mr Thomas has no understanding either of these fish or of marine conservation. “Bluefin tuna are an endangered species and any tagging that needs to be done should only be carried out as part of limited and strictly controlled projects, such as that being undertaken by the University of Exeter. “Calling for a big expansion in so-called ‘sport fishing’ is simply irresponsible.” Adding to Mr Slater’s concerns, Mr Ramsden said bluefin tuna’s immune systems are affected by stress - and would be harmed by having a large hook attached to their faces at high speeds. “You physically pierce the fish’s mouth and gill area with a hook, you exhaust them by wearing them down and landing them, and then they’re out of the water for several minutes whilst you not only tag them but also measure them, weigh them, and take photos. “It’s really not good for the fish.”

Source = MetiNews.Com - Cornwall

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Cornwall news Tuna tourism sport fishing plan for Cornwall 'irresponsible' UK news


Cornwall news Tuna tourism sport fishing plan for Cornwall 'irresponsible' UK news


Cornwall news Tuna tourism sport fishing plan for Cornwall 'irresponsible' UK news


Cornwall news Tuna tourism sport fishing plan for Cornwall 'irresponsible' UK news

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