Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Sustainability of line-caught fish clarified

The more time I spend fishing, the more I learn. But I've spent so much time working on the boat the last few weeks, I've had to resort to going for a beer with a couple of marine biologists to carry on with my learning.

They tell me the reason all the inshore wrecks are so devoid of fish is that they are frequently netted. Boats lay nets alongside the wreck, and pick them up 12 or so hours later. The nets catch almost everything, including dolphins. Often, nets become tangled on the wrecks and have to be abandoned. These are the wrecks line fishermen find 'snaggy' - we lose our lures on them. Of course, the nets continue to catch fish, even though they are not retrievable.

Tomorrow, I'm going to fish the wrecks in Lyme Bay - the bass have arrived at last. I saw last year that some of the wrecks there were netted - I might have to sail by a few before I find one that is suitable for line fishing. If I see a boat pulling in a net from a wreck, I may stick around to watch what comes up.

Finding crew is often a problem. Until I catch reasonable quantities of fish, pay is minimal or non-existent. Being available to fish whenever the weather is reasonable and going out for 2-3 days or more, working shifts (we need someone on watch at all times) - somehow, people find the prospect unappealing. However, I have persuaded my 16-year old daughter and her boyfriend to try a trip. Last time she sailed, I think she spent most of the time playing with Lego bricks on the floor of the cabin. I don't think he's sailed at all. Should be interesting... and we will also have on board a professional photographer, who wants to document a trip.

With my new engine installation, inexperienced crew, and a passenger with a camera, what could possibly go wrong?

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