The Wirral Green Party today called for an end to gill netting in the area. The motion, proposed by Councillor Pat Cleary and seconded by Councillor Judith Grier, will be put before today’s full Council meeting (July 10th).
Gill nets are a type of fishing net that is left unattended in the water. They work by entangling fish by the gills as they try to swim through, which kills or fatally injures them. Gill nets are non-selective, meaning that they can catch a wide variety of fish, including young fish, fish of protected species, and non-target species.
The Green Party motion notes the harmful effects of gill netting on fishing populations and other marine life, especially porpoises and fish-eating birds such as grebes and divers. The motion also notes that other authorities such as Cornwall Council, Devon County Council, and Northumberland County Council have imposed location-dependent restrictions on gill netting.
The motion calls for the introduction of a bylaw in consultation with the Fisheries Authorities that would prevent gill netting in Special protection areas and Ramsar sites around the Wirral Coast. The motion also calls for the review of council-issued licences around parking on Wirral beaches, which allow fishermen to bring equipment such as gill nets onto the beach.
Decades of overfishing combined with the increased warmth and acidification of our oceans means our marine life is under stress like never before. The recent heat-wave in the waters around our coast with temperatures 5 degrees above normal has astounded scientists. It is a clear and siren call as to the ongoing and accelerating collapse of earth’s life-support systems.
The least we should do as a council is to ensure we are not making these huge problems even worse by facilitating additional stress on our marine life via unsustainable fishing practices.
“Gill netting is an indiscriminate fishing method that has no place in our modern society,” said Councillor Cleary. “We are calling on the council to take action to protect our marine environment and ban gill netting in Wirral’s protected areas.”
Councillor Grier said: “The relevant authorities need to move at pace to protect our marine life in the Dee Special Protection Area & the Mersey Narrows and North Wirral Foreshore Ramsar site. Gill-netting is unacceptable and needs to be stopped as soon as possible.”