Wirral Greens call to end gill net fishing in Wirral coastal waters

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.

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 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.

Cllr Cleary said, “Gill netting is an indiscriminate fishing method that has no place in our modern society. We are calling on the council to take action to protect our marine environment and ban gill netting in Wirral’s protected areas.”

Cllr 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.”

Image: A porpoise trapped in netting found off Leasowe Bay

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