Federation Annual General Meeting 2013 Open for All Recreational Fishermen

Started by skip, April 14, 2013, 18:51:40 CET

Previous topic - Next topic


The Federazzjoni ta l-Ghaqdiet tas-Sajjieda Dilettanti Malta have invited the Malta Fishing Forum staff and it's members to their AGM:

The Federation will be holding its Annual General Meeting at the Glormu Cassar Hall - Excelsior Hotel Floriana on Sunday 5th May 2013 at 09:00 hrs.

All Recreational Fishermen are invited to attend even if they are not members of any of the member associations. During this meeting the Federation will discuss the proposed regulations for recreational fishermen suggested by the sub committee of the Fisheries Board appointed in October 2012. The report prepared by this sub committee was presented to the Director of Fisheries in the middle of March so that it will be further discussed by the Fisheries Board once this is again reappointed.

You are encouraged to attend and voice your views and concerns.


I am still undecided whether to go or not. Reason being that I don't agree with the set up of the sub committee.  Also I have suggested that the equipment that rec vessels are not allowed to be used should be stated and although all those who posted agree, it was not taken up by Dr Carabott. So what's the use of suggesting???
Apart from that I suppose a good attendance should encourage the federation to work harder for our cause.


I say we go.  We need to discuss in a civilised manner where is recreational fishing heading to.  We have an opportunity to shape our future, lets not lose this opportunity.
Beneteau Antares 9.80 - Powered by twin Volvo Penta D4 225HP
       /___ \
___ /_____\_______


Everyone must of course decide for themselves, and the Federation Committee need feedback from their members in order to shape their discussions and actions over the next 12-24 months. If there are specific concerns or a major consensus it's during an AGM that these things need to really come out face to face.

From our side and as I have stated before, there are areas where the Forum and the Federation align, and other areas were we don't have the same views; but our ultimate objective to acheieve the very best for Recreational Fishers. We have approached the authorities with our concerns and we will be included in the new sub-committee that has to be created once again and this time we will be lobbying to include the right set of stakeholders that truly represent our sector.

I feel it is also important that those present look closely at the proposed regulations and voice where they feel the sub-committee went wrong but of course where they got it right (for Example the 100hp MFC restriction). These are as always, just my views guys, each must decide for themselves.


There are other areas that we need to look into that centre around the draft proposal discussed in the now defunct sub-committee.  Jonathan raised a few concerns regards the 100's of yachting enthusiasts who sail around the island and simply dangle a line (rixa) or troll a rod and lure behind their boat.  Where is this addressed in the regualtions?.  What about the family man who takes his children out for a spin on the small family boat, and either engages in some light bottom fishing, or trolls a lure, do we also need to regualte this as well?
I think, and I stated this to the DG, that we are trying to be holier than the pope, since as yet, I have found no obligation from member states in the EU to legislate down to this level.  That is why there is a need to discuss.  
Beneteau Antares 9.80 - Powered by twin Volvo Penta D4 225HP
       /___ \
___ /_____\_______


I have to agree with gaffer here. As a young child I started 'boat' fishing using a 7 foot traditional rowing dinghy to get a 100 meters or so from the coast in M'xett harbour dangling a line for brieqex and gharajjes. To even try this type of fishing, does it make sense for such a boat to be to be registered as MFC?

If somebody wants to fish for mulett from his boat on a mooring (as is frequently done in harbours) does this need to be an MFC? In fact as the regulations have been drawn up it is doubtful that this type of fishing is actually permitted since lines for mulett (as is the case with lines for msell, qarnit and others) are not listed in the fishing methods permitted for recreational fishermen!

In my opinion the most basic types of fishing (e.g strictly rod and line/ handline or trolling within a certain distance e.g. 1 mile from the shore) should  not be regulated in this manner. Unless specifically disallowed by the EU (which I think is not the case) I  believe that this type of fishing should be open to anybody, obviously sticking to any rules related to minimum fish sizes etc.


In my opinion it is better to be present. Please be informed they it is the only federation that the government hold talks with. Between them they can decide  issues which is not in the interest of the full time fisherman but will be in the interest of the recreational fisherman. These issues have to be made clear during their AGM.



Attended the meeting and to say I was disappointed with the number of recreational fisherman present is saying it mildly. there were 55 people in the room counting everyone........
Present was the PS Hon Roderick Galdes, the newly appointed director, Mr Micallef ( i hope i got his surname right) and frans from fisheries. Of course all the members from the federation committee.
The secretary read the minutes and then there was a speech by the PS regarding the future of fishing in general in Malta. He recognised the money limitations but promised to look into everything presented to him. He also said that the new regulations will be updated and scrutinised before being implemented. He had to leave after a while as he had more commitments. director and the other 2 gentleman from Fisheries stayed.
The financial report was read and approved then Mr Carabott read out the proposed new regulations and the floor was open to discussions. Most of the new regulations were approved by the floor as there were no comments on them. The only comments were that
1:the Deep sea long line should not have a limitations of 100 fathoms, there was a suggestion that its better to have less hooks and deeper waters.
Answer by GOGO: the commercial representative wanted it to be 50 mtrs depth and we achieved at least 100 fathoms. Not sure if this is going to be changed or not. (this is what buggs me in these meetings that one suggests and there is no decision taken.
2:the booklet should have the things we dont use in fishing not what was allowed
Answer: the booklet has nothing to do with it so dont worry about it.

Mr Baldachino (gaffer) stated the difference between the federation and MFF basically that the federation was representing the MFB as well as the recreational while MFF was mainly after the recreational.  he pointed out that the suggestions by the fisheries (they are in the report by the federations proposed regulations) were an insult to all recreational fisherman and should not even have been considered.
there were also comments on the fishing license for the small round the coast boats whether they should be licensed or not.
The tuna conditions were a hotter potato as there were various comments regarding the conditions imposed.
!: that the recreational tuna permit holders have to report whenever they go out fishing whether for tuna or not:
Answer: the boats that dont carry tuna gear dont have to report, so if one goes swimming he does not need to report as long as they dont  carry tuna gear (line over 1.6mm).  there was a bit more discussion regarding this item where the fisheries made themselves quite clear that they want to have tighter controll on us recreational
2: why is the quota so low and that it should not have been calculated with last years catch
Answer: the quota will go up according to this years catch.
3: Why does one have to go to the alnding site if this implies hours of sea travelling as well as a considerable cost to the rec fisherman.
Answer by the director: ICAAT states that there should be designated ports of call and that the department has to man these with personnel which costs money. (yea the dept does not have money but I do) She didnt even want to consider the suggestion that since there are going to be (SPIES) personnel around the fishfarms so that they report boats taking up tuna, they can be used to report and inspect the catch.
So all in all I went in and came out practically the same, the only person that gave us some hope was the PS. I was not impressed by the director (its true she has been appointed in the last 2 days) but since she shut out the suggestions and wants to follow the regulations, imposed by fisheries not ICAAT, to the letter, I dont think we will have much chance of moving forward, as good administrator usually says we will look into it especially since she has just been appointed.
The other two members gave me the impression that they care more for the commercial than the recreational.

This is my two cents and I dont want to implicate the MFF this is solely my opinion.


oh since the meeting was to discuss and make suggestions on the new regulations, and the two suggestions seemed to fall on deaf ears I dont think i will attend another meeting as it would be a waste of time, maybe the lack of attendance is due to this fact.  I dont know just a thought.


Indeed for a topic that was read 421 times the turnout was extremely disappointing and confirmed that ultimately most people prefer to just read and let others decide.

This is now what everyone must accept, proposed regulations and actual regulations will be decided first and foremost by the relevant authorities but also based on those who have been appointed to the relevant boards. True people like Dr. Joe and Joe Gaffer will read and take on your comments, but ultimately they will still apply their interpretation and have to adjust with a give and take approach based on the discussions in hand.

So to all those who might at a later date outright complain, moan or worse; today you had the opportunity to voice your concerns first hand in front of the Parliamentary Secretary, the new Director of Fisheries and her team and also let both the MFF Admins and the Federation team hear your concerns first hand, and yet so few of you attended.

From my side and to further on what Tony said, I provided the new Director with a brief overview of our feelings towards regulations and our concerns with over-regulation or rushing into things too quickly. I also highlighted that rightly so we feel very passionately about our hobby and its future.

I asked the Director if in recent weeks or months, whether Malta has been fined or had deadlines imposed on it to regularise the recreational fishing sector. Considering current legislation is so old, why suddenly are we going from quasi 0% to 200% as quickly as possible. Mistakes are made when things like that occur. This is something that the Director promised to come back to us on as she has only just been appointed, and had to check with the former director on whether Malta received any deadlines etc.

I also highlighted that the Recreational Sector in Malta heavily contributes to the Boat Building Industry, Boat Importers and Engine Dealers, Marine Chandlers, Yard Storage Service, Insurance, Maintenance Services, Marine Electronics, Tackle Shops and all associated services, and that given the reduction in the commercial fishing fleet we now generate more income and spend more money than Commercial Fishers (always excluding Tuna Farming). This was unanimously agreed by the panel and I strongly highlighted that the Recreational Sector must therefore be given it due attention and importance and it was time for a shift in our favour.

On the proposed regulations, Article 8 and beyond was dismissed and objected to by Joe the Gaffer, and certainly "Tourist Fishing" has nothing to do with Recreational Fishing and should not be included nor mentioned within these proposed regulations. It is something that TM must tackle with the FCD.

In no uncertain terms the proposals made by the office of the Former Director of Fisheries, which were debated and discussed by officials from the Federation were strongly objected to, but more than that our frustration and anger was conveyed in a very strong manner to highlight how outrageous these were felt to be. Tracking Devices being the most strongly objected to by Joe the Gaffer who led this point, but it was the underlying message that the FCD even came up with these preposterous ideas that was the root cause of the frustration.

For those of you not aware, these were: Tracking System on each boat, restrictions in fishing zones, restrictions in equipment that could be utilised, restrictions in fishing days during the year.

I also objected to the blanket idea that all recreational vessels must be registered with the Fisheries Dept. if they wish to conduct any kind of recreational fishing activities at sea. This is Article 2 and Article 7 as they tie into each other, but more Article 2 entitled "If a recreational fishing vessel should have a fishing license".

I asked the Director to clarify why the vessel had to be registered and not the individual and what the scope was of it being the vessel that was registered. We do not benefit from any subsidies and we are not commercial vessels so why should the vessel itself be on a fishing register if they were merely recreational fishers? I stand by my example of our neighbours in Italy who are not obliged to do this and who are EU members, and also the 100,000+ recreational fishers in the USA who all have a fishing permit issued to an individual and not their vessel. I believe this is the same in Australia, a country known for strict enforcement and regulation. Why does Malta always try and outdo others, and then it doesn't have the structure, resources, nor budget to subject its over complicated ideas. Jesmond from the Birzebuggia club also provided some examples of his experiences with having his small boats registered and highlighted the need for a quick streamlined approach to all this and not two days of hassling around.

I asked the director whether the need to register was merely for the individual to be made aware of and acknowledge the relevant rules and regulations or something else? I feel it would be a lot easier to issue a permit to the individual. All these discussions were focussing on fishing at sea from a boat, however we know there are various others areas that must comply with rules and regulations including minimum sizes etc, and thus I feel that more work and clarification needs to be done in this area, including discussing additional ideas and mechanisms.

It was stressed by Dr. Carabott that we should not just throw out all the work that has already been done and certainly in my opening statement to the director I highlighted what an important step it was getting the 99HP outboard restriction removed from MFC vessels and this should be the very first starting point. (As I don't think a LN has been published yet)

It was also stressed that a sub-committee on recreational fishing should be formed in the majority by those representing the recreational sector and not by so many other parties such as (TM, AFM, Commercials).

In terms of Document A - Fishing Apparatus, these were read out and are well listed, although it was highlighted that ideally a document of this sort should indicate what cannot be used and not what can, and this would pave the way for new developments in tackle and ensure that nothing was left out.


As to whether there should be a distinction between S and MFC, (and this is just my personal opinion) I think there should be a clear distinction between S and MFC with some kind of tier that includes fishers who want to go beyond just using a hand line or rod and reel such as Longlines (Konzijiet etc). Certainly you cannot group those using long lines with the type of occasional rec. fishing who deploy in a small vessel and fish just off the coast for a bit of fun.

For example: Anyone wanting to fish whether from Land, Sea or Underwater needs a fishing permit. These should be cheap, available for visitors as well and from various locations around Malta and Gozo. You go, review the regulations, fill in an application form, pay your small fee and you get a permit. This takes care of people saying I wasn't aware of minimum sizes or conservation zones etc etc.

This permit could for example include the occasional boat fisher or someone with a very small boat who fishes up to 3nm off the coast in his little boat with his child (Such a boat would/could be just S and could only use Rods and Handlines), and here the general fishing permit would suffice. Shore fishers would have the same as would spearo's.

From there you could then implement vessel registration (What we know as MFC) and this would be a permit plus vessel registration that would cater for someone venturing more than 3nm offshore and who would be allowed to use all types of gear mentioned in Document A for example.

Anyway these are just my views and examples on how I think one could build on what there is after having listened to the direction that Fisheries want to take Recreational Fishing.

I would like to thank the Federation for opening up their AGM to all Recreational Fishers in Malta, and for allowing all those present an opportunity to provide their input directly to the P.S. Honourable Roderick Galdes, the newly appointed Director, Dr. Andeina Fenech Farrugia and Michael and Frans from the FCD.


I too was somewhat disapointed with the attendance.  For a topic so important to recreational fishermen, I would have thought the meeting would be well attended.  Maybe next time more publicity is required.  Even a bit of encouragement from fellow anglers may do the trick.  The fact is, strenght is in numbers, and the message sent yesterday was that recreational fishermen don't give a toss if their right to freedom to proactice their favorite passtime is severely diminished.  

The subject of BFT fishing is a very delicate subject indeed, and the least said about that the better.  I personally have witnessed numerous fishermen catching BFT by the tuna pens.  I have written this before, so I have no problem re writing it.  I personally saw MFAs and MFB registered vessels landing BFT, however, I also saw a good deal of MFC or S registered vessels landing tuna.  I hate being called a liar, so next time, I'll also mention some names to make it even more interesting!

The other topic, the proposed regulations towards recreational fishing governancve, are an insult to anybody with a brain.  It is for this reason that I let my emotions get the best of me during yesterday's meeting.  How on earth can a deptarment, financed by public funds, come up with such dirt, is real;ly beyond me.  Contrary to what Dr. Joe belives, there is nothing political in my motives.  I simply objected to these proposals being discussed just weeks before the general election.  The outgoing government had 5 years to discuss, agree and implement, why did  it have to be seen to be doing something just weeks before the general election.  One reason that has been suggested to me was that the commercial entities involved, knew that if they put enough pressure on the government, they just might possibly get their way  in driving home all their proposals to eradicate once and for all recreational fishing!  Yes, that is what a voice whispered in my ear.  I have no proof of this, nor is it my wish to persue the version of truth.  However, there are instances in the proposals that point out to something really sinister being concocted to forcefully diminish and finally eradicate recreational fishermen.  One thing that comes to mind is the tracking system suggested by the dept of fisheries.  The department suggested that each vessel, no matter if its 6 feet long or 60 feet long, if this vessel is involved in fishing activities, then it must be fitted with a tracking device!.  Unbelievable, but true.  Another proposal from the fisheries deptarment was to limit the amount of days one can practice recreational fishing, including the zone proposal, which effectively limits the area one can fish!
I am all for conservation and protection, but you cannot protect a zone from recreational fishermen only to reserve it for the MTA or the commercial fishermen.  Its either protected or not.

So you see, I do get emotional and vent out like I did yesterday.  However, when one insults my intelligence, what can one expect?
Beneteau Antares 9.80 - Powered by twin Volvo Penta D4 225HP
       /___ \
___ /_____\_______


I know that I am threading a fine line here given that this is not the place for politics but one cannot avoid pointing out that one of the prominent platforms which the present government was elected was a pledge to reduce unnecessary bureaucracy. Where legislation is needed according to EU regulations or where there are clear issues of sustainability of certain fish species fine - go ahead and legislate. But why try to be holier than the pope and come up with unnecessary legislation that simply leads to frustration rather than conservation?

Why not start by educating recreational fishermen about responsible fishing and minimum landing sizes and enforcing laws that are already there ? (and please not only for recreational fishermen - I recently saw 25cm groupers on the fish counter of one of our most well known supermarkets). I sure that a targeted educational effort will lead to more effective conservation than tracking devices on 10 foot boats!


No threading Lazyfisherman I personally talked to PS and he was very receptive to our views. The problem as I see it, is Fisheries (they lean on the commercial side). I am quite sure that we will come to a conclusion that embraces the Eu regulations (although these are more in protection of the commercial) and lenient local regulations. We have to wait and see things are not done in the bat of an eye.........I hope they are not as its better to do things in the right way rather than a rush way.
But I am sure you agree that if the recreational doesnt show his presence in these talks then we are doomed to failure. How can one convince the PS that the recreational are not happy if they dont even bother to show up?
Last gettogether the MFF organised there were more people than at the meeting where we had members from The federation, MFF, land fishing and spearos.

shame shame shame


Yes shanook you are very right and I am one of the guilty ones - we had a wedding reception on Saturday night and  came home after 2.00 am. I just couldn't wake up (I guess I lived up to my name of lazyfisherman).