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I assure the Minister that, despite my anger at this decision, I will continue to work constructively
with him and his Department to seek to rebuild the consensus that has been damaged by the decision. I welcome the fact that he has agreed to meet sea anglers next week. I am in discussion with many sea angling bodies, and they are looking forward to having a similar robust but polite discussion with him.
Finally, we are funding the three-year research and development project that I referred to earlier to fill gaps in knowledge about the impacts of different management measures on stocks and, as I said, on economic activity. The study will help to improve our knowledge of recreational sea angling activity and provide a firmer basis for future action.
In moving forward from this decision, I am clear that we need to take a collaborative approach to fisheries management, sharing information and agreeing the way forward. Such an approach will be critical to the success of the other measures that I have described, along with a strategy for recreational sea angling, which I plan to publish soon. I look forward to the work in the near future and to meeting my hon. Friend next week.
My hon. Friend has worked very hard on this issue for the cause of sea bass anglers. I recognise his disappointment and anger. I have received many e-mails from sea bass anglers, many of which were not that complimentary. I understand the passion of those people, and my commitment is to work with them. Although they did not like my decision, they were involved in the
process and they saw the information that I received in a transparent way. My commitment is that I will work in that way in the future.
Martin Salter: May I press the Minister on one point? He has been honest with the House, acknowledging that we are talking about a change of policy, but one that was motivated by concern for the livelihoods of the inshore fisherman, particularly the under-10 m fleet. If he is able in his roleto some extent, he has the powers to do thisto improve the prospects of the under-10 m fleet, will he review this decision at the earliest opportunity?
Jonathan Shaw: In announcing my decision, I said that I would review the MLS, but I need to take account of a host of factors, particularly the under-10 m fleets quota. Within our 2020 vision for fisheries we want a sustainable under-10 m fleet and a buoyant sea angling fraternity. We want all sides to be able to enjoy the sea and the benefits that we derive from it. My hon. Friend referred to the marine Bill, and we will be bringing forward a draft of that in the spring. Many of these matters are pertinent to that. I said that I would review the decision, and I shall do so. We must ensure that we put in place the measures to which I referred. I look forward to working with him and others on those measures, so that we can make progress.