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1st Stage: Conwy 18th & 19th May, £2000 1st place privateers prize

BoatLife Fishing Championship – Conwy Round: Why no Pollack?

a pollack caught on a Sidewinder Skerries eel

Both the privateers and factory teams will be competing in their respective categories on Sunday 19th May at Conwy in the inaugural BoatLife Fishing Championship and Privateer Cups. They have a list of 5 target species to go after, recording their best 3 specimens of each species. 

Local anglers and competitors have noted that pollack is not amongst those species and given they are a popular local species to target, it’s raised intrigue as to why. 

BoatLife takes sustainability very seriously. Just like our decision to measure tope exceeding 120cm in the water (you can read more about our welfare decisions for tope here), we have to be conscious of the current status of pollack, namely scientific recommendations of zero catch across the English Channel and Celtic Sea. 

Whilst this is a catch and release tournament, the effects of barotrauma on pollack can be considerable, leading to a high post-release mortality. In a competition setting, with anglers having to get through a large number of pollack before finding the bigger fish in the shoal, some level of mortality would be almost inevitable. 

Fantastic work is currently being led by a team of scientists from the University of Plymouth, the Marine Biological Association and the University of York, alongside the Professional Boatman’s Association and the Angling Trust, funded through DEFRA’s Fisheries Industries Science Partnerships (FISP), simply titled ‘Pollack F.I.S.P.’. Research from the project is already demonstrating how effective descending devices can increase post-release survival. However, at this moment in time, it’s too soon to assess the effectiveness of devices such as the Seaqualizer in a competition setting, where speed can often be the primary driver. It will be something we follow closely in consideration for future events, with many other deeper water species also benefiting from a descended release. 

We must also bear in mind that whilst there are, as yet, no restrictions on angling for pollack, there have been heavy restrictions for the inshore commercial fleet, especially hook and line. Coastal communities are tight knit and many of us will have friends who have been personally impacted by these very sudden quota changes. If we can also help to support a recovery in the pollack stocks by focusing our efforts, for now, on alternative species, of which Conwy offers an abundance, then collectively we can move towards a more sustainable future for this fish.

You can find out more about the Pollack FISP project here. 

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1st Stage: Conwy 18th & 19th May, £2000 1st place privateers prize