An organisation has been set up which is threatening shooting and fishing sports in the United Kingdom.
The Northern Ireland Marine Task Force has been set up to campaign for ‘marine legislation’ for Northern Ireland.
It has some powerful organisations behind it.
Amongst them the RSPB, and the National Trust.
The centrepiece of its smart website is an opinion poll with the seemingly innocuous and pleasant statement
” I support the NIMTF and it’s work to ensure that the Marine Bill has wildlife at its heart.”
You are asked to vote either Yes, or No.
Why am I asking you to vote NO
Obviously you care about marine wildlife. We all do. No-one wants to see marine animals harmed or their habitat damaged.
However, this proposed marine bill is not all it seems.
The power to ban fishing and shooting
The wording in some of the clauses of the bill have the potential for preventing anglers, wildfowler etc from gaining access to the foreshore in any part of Northern Ireland
“The provision that may be made by byelaws under this section also includes provision prohibiting or restricting entry into, or any movement or other activity on, any part of the seashore that adjoins the MCZ by persons, animals or vehicles.”
Other clauses have the potential for expanding these restrictions to rivers, lakes etc
“Byelaws under this section may be made so as to apply to any area in the Northern Ireland inshore region or in any other part of Northern Ireland”
These clauses offer enormous power to deny public access to vast areas of the countryside and sea shore.
A deliberate attack?
At first it seemed that this might have been simply a matter of poor wording. But so far the NIMTF has not responded favourably to helpful recommendations from BASC to ammend the clauses in a more appropriate manner.
Sadly it would seem that the intention of the task force may have been to use this bill as a crafty way of sneaking anti-shooting and anti-fishing legislation in through the back door.
BASC have issued more information on their website.
It is really important that those who care about rural activities and the freedom to move around in the countryside vote NO in
This ill thought out and sweeping legislation could have far reaching effects for all of us if allowed to pass through uncontested.
Please vote NO today, and share this article on your facebook page or twitter feed.
Thank you so much for helping.