His family has asked for donations to the RNLI in memory of Tony rather than flowers.
A specific donation page has been set up at
30-12-15: Sad news:
Angling stalwart Tony Williams has died after losing a battle with lung cancer.
His services to recreational sea angling will be sorely missed.
19-12-15: Anglers have been totally shafted by the UK government & EU who have given in to misleading & erroneous pressure from the commercial sector that has actually been responsible for the vast increase in Bass mortality over recent years resulting in the imminent collapse of the entire stock. See Anglers shafted by EU
Regrettably the Angling Trust received very little support from rank & file anglers for its campaigns to try to obtain equitable treatment in the Bass conservation restrictions just agreed by the EU.
This highlights that if rank & file anglers sit back, do nothing & expect others to resolve issues on their behalf then more & more unfavourable outcomes are inevitable.
1-8-15: Alan Deeming became aware that part of the proposal to redevelope the area round the Red Funnel ferry terminal at East Cowes would involve Red Funnel preventing access to the only public slipway on the East side of Cowes harbour. He submitted a response to the consultation expressing his grave concerns at this loss & requested that a suitable alternative be provided prior to Red Funnel being allowed to deny access to the current slipway. He has successfully gained the support of a local councillor who has agreed to push for a suitable alternative to be provided.
For details of the redevelopment see Red Funnel stealing public slipway
10-11-15: Advice re legal aspects on access to foreshore now added to Our Work - Other
12-7-15: Malcolm Knight has sent us 2 messages about issues relating to bait digging at both East Cowes & in the Medina near Island Harbour. (Both messages have been responded to by email). Legal restrictions on bait digging exist at East Cowes, Ryde Sands & a number of other areas of the Island's Solent coast. See the Byelaws section under Our Work for more details. Regretably still no warning/information signs have been installed at these areas. Malcolm also reported an incident of a digger being warned off from digging in the river near Island Harbour. We would be interested to hear if anyone else has had the same experience.( Message Alan Deeming please). We believe that digging there is legal but Island Harbour would be within its right to not allow bait diggers to park on its property so access to the foreshore would need to be gained via public footpath to be totally legal.
2-7-15: The EU has today raised the minimum size for Bass to 42cms for all fishers both commercial & recreational effective from September.
The Angling Trust minimum being larger is not affected.
Please see AT news: Bass min size raised
21-6-2015. Save Our Sea Bass
B.A.S.S. has created a new website called "Save Our Sea Bass.org" http://www.saveourseabass.org/ that aims to focus the concerns that many people across Europe have about the sad state of the sea bass population and convert them into effective action over a sustained period to get things changed for the better. In particular, the website encourages people to get their voices heard by sending emails directly to the decision-makers (whose email addresses are provided).
B.A.S.S. will also be creating a series of petitions under the "Save Our Sea Bass" banner, focused on exerting pressure on the most urgent issues at any moment. The first of these petitions has just been launched and deals with the recent EU proposals for Vessel Catch Limits and an increase in the Minimum Conservation Reference Size to 42cm. These proposals will be decided in Brussels in the next few days and weeks and the petition is aimed at the EU fisheries Ministers who will make those decisions.
27-5-2015. Bream Tagging
Southern Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority (SIFCA) has set up a tagging programme for Back Bream operational in Sandown Bay at present.
Tags have small white tubes containing a tag number plus the phone number for SIFCA.
Anyone catching a tagged Bream is encouraged to return it after recording the tag number & approximate recapture point. Please then phone the details to SIFCA including if the fish was returned again or retained. In the event that the fish is retained then please keep the tag safe in case SIFCA would like to retrieve it. Further details can be obtained from SIFCA or Bembridge Angling Club. This exercise is part of a SIFCA exercise to try to establish more details about Black Bream in response to the marked decline in angling catches over recent years.
(19/06/2015) New monthly commercial catch limits and closed area
The Council of Ministers has today taken a decision to set monthly catch limits for commercial vessels catching sea bass.
The decision will come into force before the end of June and will last until 31 December 2015. This decision marks an additional step in the package of measures the Commission has proposed for 2015 to halt the decline of this stock and prepare the way forward for further management measures in 2016.
For details see: Details of restrictions
5-6-2015 Bass new campaign for commercial restrictions see Campaign for commercial restrictions
1-5-2015 Bass Q & A
For a detailed list of explanations of the current situation re EU protection for Bass see EU Bass Information
Southern Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authority (SIFCA) has set up a "Recreational Angling Sector Group" in order to engage with the large number of recreational sea anglers (RSA) within its catchment area.
Alan Deeming, representing IW anglers, joined Dick Stubbs (Southampton) & Chris Holloway (Poole) both representing Wessex anglers as initial members of the group.
It is intended to invite additional representatives from across the SIFCA region including representatives from the charter angling skippers community.
22-4-2015 & amended 28-4-2015
Anglers likely to be banned from East Cowes front, inside the breakwater.
It has just been announced that the Homes & Communities Agency has selected a consortium of Camper & Nicholsons and Westcourt Real Estate as their preferred developer for the newVictoria Marina development in East Cowes, between the union flag hanger & East Cowes breakwater. The plans shown in the above link clearly indicate that the inner part of the new marina will be a few tens of meters from the promenade between the Union Flag hangar & the main breakwater thus making it within easy casting distance from those fishing along this stretch. It has been obvious from the initial publishing of plans for this marina that angling would thus end up being banned from this section of public sea wall. Tony Williams made strong representations at the early planning stage for the provision of alternative facilities for anglers to be included & as a result of recent progress on this development, Alan Deeming has also raised the issue with our local MP. All attempts to get some mitigation have, however, failed to prompt any positive response.
This is most unsatisfactory since this section of sea wall is one of the very few places on the Island where disabled & infirm anglers can fish virtually out of their car & it does not suffer from the significant weed problem that makes the seawall outside of the breakwater virtually unfishable on many occasions.
It is most unlikely that the configuration of the marina will be changed to allow fishing to continue so the best that can be hoped for is that if enough concerned anglers complain, then just possibly some alternative provision will be made.
If as many of you as possible complain about this probable loss of access then it is just possible that something could be arranged by way of mitigation. We suggest a simple email saying that you are concerned at the potential loss of angling access & that you request they enter into a dialogue with anglers.
30-3-2015 (amended 2-4-15): The EU has today introduced a legal bag limit of 3 fish per person per day applicable to all recreational fishers. Contrary to popular misunderstanding, this does not only apply to recreational sea anglers but it also applies to the full range of activities that the EU defines under the term recreational fishing. This includes all forms of fishing, be it with net, long line etc where the catch is not legally sold. The EU is in process of looking to introduce further conservation measures to be applied to the commercial fleet.
The Angling Trust, along with BASS & EAA has campaigned vigorously for fair & equitable conservation measures to be applied equally to commercial fishers entirely prompted by the ICES scientific evidence based advice of a need to reduce mortality by 80% in 2015 & the initial impression that this would be totally ignored for the second year in a row, which would likely result in a complete collapse of the stock.
The Angling Trust wants anglers to make this an election issue & have produced a template letter that it wishes anglers to copy & send to all prospective parliamentary candidates.
For the template letter see TEMPLATE LETTER TO CANDIDATES
For briefing document to attach to letter see Bass briefing paper 2015 March
|MCZ||20-3-15: Alan Deeming submitted a personal response to the MCZ consultation in respect of both the Overfalls & Utopia areas. This included some catch records of Undulate rays from these areas in support of a request to include Undulates for protection. Alan has also made representations to both MMO & Defra pointing out that although, within the official documentation, angling is stated as not being affected by designation of these sites, any possible restriction on anchoring would have a significant impact & should be considered in the impact assessments.|
|MCZ||15-3-15: Subsequent to Alan Deeming & Tony Williams going to a meeting of the “Overfalls Group” on the mainland to discuss the proposed Utopia & Overfalls MCZs located off the South East of the IW, the secretary of the “Overfalls Group” submitted an agreed official response to the public consultation for the Overfalls area that included a request for Undulate Ray to be included in the list of things to be protected.|
12-3-15: Just been sent a Draft Bass position paper generated on behalf of all the English Inshore Fisheries & Conservation Authorities which reads as follows:-
Association of Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities
IFCA Bass position statement:
The Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCAs) have an important role in securing the future sustainable exploitation of bass and we wish to work with national partners to implement measures to address the international decline.
We recognise the need for urgency in light of the international decline and we consider measures must be proportionate in their effects because bass are important to both the recreational and commercial fisheries and because they significantly contribute to coastal economies.
This position statement sets out the views expressed, by the IFCAs, following a meeting with Defra and Cefas officials regarding the future management of bass. The purpose of this letter is to consider which aspects of a management plan are best achieved through IFCA local action and which measures might be better achieved through national measures (identifying therein where we could support such an approach). We recognise that management of inshore fisheries alone will not recover the stock, but that inshore fisheries management has an important role to play in the international management plan. As such the measures we describe here are part of an overall package that is necessary to reduce bass mortality; they are not the whole answer. We recognise other measures are required to achieve outcome of a sustainable bass fishery.
The effectiveness of existing bass nursery area legislation.
The IFCAs consider that there is a need for an immediate review of the effectiveness of the current bass nursery area legislation. For the sake of time, and in the context of the immediate need for action, we think that this should take the form of a light touch amendment to the current instruments as opposed to wholescale redrafting. We hope that this will speed up the process of better protecting bass in these important areas. The purpose of this recommendation is to reduce the mortality of bass in these nursery areas.
We therefore recommend The Bass (Specified Areas) (Prohibition of Fishing) Order 1990 and The Bass (Specified Areas) (Prohibition of Fishing) (Variation) Order 1999 are amended to include
1) A Deeming clause, which deems any bass has been caught within the BNA when found in the possession of a person who is fishing in a BNA (on a boat or on the shore).
2) the restriction of the removal of bass to include fishing (in all forms) from the shore.
The IFCAs will then review netting in these areas and consider the use of local byelaws to augment the protections they afford.
The Creation of new areas.
The IFCAs consider that the identification and creation of more nursery areas (or congregations sites) would contribute further to the necessary reduction in mortality of bass. We consider that the IFCAs are best placed to conduct such a review: we propose to review the near shore netting regulations in particular the relationships between the current management arrangements (legacy byelaws) and their function as bass nursery/congregation areas. We consider that the designation of such areas could be achieved through local byelaws. We consider that the IFCAs are best placed to identify suitable areas and introduce such measures.
Minimum Legal Size
We support the national implementation of a Minimum Legal Size for bass of at least that of Length at Maturity (50%). So as to be effective and proportionate we consider that this measure should apply to both the recreational and commercial sector. If necessary we can support the implementation of this national measure with mesh size requirements where incidence of bycatch could be high in the inshore fisheries. There is an ideal window of opportunity to introduce a national minimum size at a time when the recruitment to the fishery is low.
We consider that only a national bass minimum legal size will have the desired effect of reducing mortality. This is because of the effect of displacement and enforceability.
The IFCAs support the introduction of a bag limit to address the weaknesses in the current management of unregistered unlicensed sale of bass. As part of a balanced package of measures a bag limit will also help reduce the mortality associated with recreational sea angling. Estimates of the impacts of sea angling on mortality are not insignificant the majority of this activity is occurring within the IFCAs Districts. IFCAs therefore have a clear role to play. Given that the MMO have indicated reluctance to cross warrant with IFCAs (not a view that is shared by the IFCAs) we consider that the bag limit should be established nationally. We could however introduce such measures if Defra felt this expedient in the interest of efficiency.
We recognise that this will form a necessary part of a package of measures required to reduce mortality. Given the existing routes to achieve this outcome (i.e. license condition and variation) we would support the monitoring through intelligence sharing with national partners.
(26/01/2015) The European Commission has announced measures to avert the collapse of the declining sea bass stock. Immediately effective emergency measures will place a ban on targeting the fish stock by trawling while it is reproducing, during the spawning season, which runs until the end of April.
The measure will last until 30 April 2015. It will apply to the Channel, Celtic Sea, Irish Sea and southern North Sea.
EU has stated that "this will be complemented by further measures to ensure that all those who fish sea bass make a balanced and fair contribution to saving the stock."
It is currently being proposed by the EU that there be a 3 fish per day per angler bag limit.
12-3-15: Advised that the RYA has engaged consultants to gather info on the level of boats stopping (anchoring) within certain areas of the Needles recommended MCZ. Contact details of local charter angling skippers passed to the consultants in order to try to get angling interests included.
Note that a good working relationship was established between local RYA officers & angling reps during the initial MCZ consultation process.
Alan Deeming & Tony Williams going to a meeting of the Overfalls Group this evening on the mainland to discuss the proposed Utopia & Overfalls MCZs located off the South East of the IW.
31-1-15: Received notification that the government has decided that the only proposed Marine Conservation Zones that will be taken forward in the current round within our area are:-
rMCZ 17: Offshore Overfalls
rMCZ 20 : Needles
rMCZ 28 : Utopia
For full details including downloadable files dealing with each area see
As angling stakeholder representatives that were involved in the initial consultation process, Alan Deeming & Tony Williams hope to be involved in further consultations about these sites.
As the 2 offshore sites do not contain seagrass beds Alan thinks it unlikely that any significant restrictions on anchoring are likely within them & therefore doubts that there will be any significant impact on angling at all within them.
The Needles rMCZ is slightly different and it may be that some impact may result.
Hopefully the compromises that were achieved in conjunction with representatives of the RYA that were included in the initial recommendations will be accepted in the final outcome. If so then there should be very little, if any, impact on angling but that all depends on the outcome of the new consultation.
|21-1-15: Latest national Angling Trust press release here EU Emergency measures|
19-1-15: The European Commission has announced a package of measures aimed at averting the collapse of the declining sea bass stock. In the first instance emergency measures will be implemented to ban pelagic trawling of sea bass during spawning season which runs until the end of April.
These measures protect the stock from being targeted when at its most vulnerable; pelagic trawlers in the spawning season make up 25% of the impact on the stock. It is anticipated that the decision will be adopted and come into force before the end of the month.
Recognising that all those who fish sea bass should make a balanced and fair contribution to saving this stock, it is proposed that the pelagic trawling ban will be complemented by a number of other measures which the Commission and the countries involved – UK, France, Belgium and the Netherlands - are putting together jointly. This will include measures to manage recreational fishing and limit catches of all other commercial fisheries. The Commission will work with the countries involved to finalise these measures and table a proposal to the Council in the coming weeks.
The Commission will publish full details of the measures once they are adopted.