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Tuesday 10th May 2005 - I received an Email  from David Rowe, Development Officer for the National Federation of Sea Anglers, referring to the Crab Collector's Code for the estuaries and inlets of the River Exe; River Dart; and Salcombe & Kingsbridge.

This long project, which has taken several years, was compiled by English Nature, in consultation with the NFSA via the local Wyvern Division, in co-operation with Colin Davies of the South West Federation of Sea Anglers, who carried out the local surveys.

Dart Estuary Environmental Management, together with Devon Sea Fisheries Committee, Dart Harbour, and other relevant bodies were consulted throughout the study which has culminated in the production of the policy document.

It makes good sense and appears to draw up a cohesive document based on the best practice used by the majority of recreational sea anglers who enjoy their leisure fishing in and around Dartmouth.  I commend it to you.

The misgiving which I have already heard expressed is that nowhere has this code addressed the commercial exploitation of small crabs for use as pot bait within the fishing industry.

You can see strings of pots in various areas of the River Dart, set to catch these small crustaceans, which are then ground up and used for bait for Whelk Pots by commercial fishermen.

It seems likely that their impact on the immature population of small crabs in the Dart and adjacent areas is far greater than that occasioned by recreational sea anglers.  It is probably because the original Student's thesis from which this code grew, made no mention of this aspect of the germane matter.

I regret I do not have sufficient web space to include the details of the broadly similar schemes for the River Exe and Kingsbridge/Salcombe inlet on this web site which is all about "Fishing Dartmouth".

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