Sea Fishing – Missing Suffolk Flounder
Suffolk sea angling activist, Cadius, bemoans the lack of flounder off the Suffolk coast and wonders why nobody ever has any answers
Those of you who fish in the Essex Suffolk area will be aware that the poor old flounder has almost vanished from the Rivers Stour and Orwell. I firstly brought this fact to the attention of the Suffolk Coasts team who are responsible for the management plan in these two river systems some time ago and they were kind enough to point me in the direction of someone who might, possibly, give me some answers.
The Professor I spoke to about my concerns said that, in fact, he had no answers! However he informed me that a study was being carried out to try and find out the reasons...oh surprise, surprise they had actually noticed there was a problem, the same as us!!
Two years later I received a copy of the findings. Some of the information collected by the Harwich Haven Authority went quite a way back but it only referred to juvenile flounder and reading the file right through could easily replace the need for sleeping tablets...
It does not point the finger at any one thing but mentions dredging and the keeping of non-commercial fish from the trawl for pot bait as potential contributory factors. We as anglers do not get off scot-free either and I agree there were many flounder killed in matches on the venues in question. I have gone back to the authority and explained that most matches that are held now have conservation in mind (measure and return) and that most fish do survive the ordeal, OK some don't, but it’s better than the mass kills I have seen in the past
I am to attend another Eastern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (E.I.F.C.A) meeting in August and have requested that this particular item be put on their agenda for discussion and, hopefully, there will be a solution forthcoming. It’s interesting to note that the new measure proudly handed to me at the last meeting (legal size limits for landing fish) had none of the fish species included that we actually catch around this part of the coast. It makes you think if they are trying to make most of our coastline with Marine Conservation Zones why then are there not designated size limits for all fish species?
My hope is that the flounder population will increase because they have a commercial value for us anglers. It’s important to note that there is more money to be had from recreational angling than commercial, so it may be in their interest to help restore the fishery – or so we hope.
Regards to all fellow sea anglers and keep the faith!
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