Opportunities for mitigation
Most of the physical effects of
bait digging, and the effects on other infauna,
may easily be reduced by infilling of holes during
bait digging, which is not often observed on the
shore. This will hasten the process of bait stock
recovery, reduce mortality of non-target species,
improve habitat recovery, and minimise conflict
with many of the other shore users, This practice
is recommended in all voluntary codes of conduct.
Improved education (particularly through tackle
shops and the angling press) and wardening of bait
beds might help to improve application of this code.
Reducing bird disturbance, however, is more difficult
to achieve because it is caused by the presence
of people on the shore. Different species are influenced
to varying extents by bait digging, which causes
less disturbance than some other activities (some
species appear not to be affected at all by baitdigging).
Where a problem does exist, this may only be mitigated
by reducing the source of disturbance.
Zoning of bait digging activity
could be required to manage bird disturbance and
to protect particularly vulnerable habitats and
communities such as Zostera or mussel beds,
saltmarsh, and particularly fragile infaunal populations.
Zonation will also help to avoid conflicts between
bait digging and damage to coastal structures, vessels,
and other shore users who are inconvenienced or
endangered by the soft holes left even after backfilling
of bait holes on the shore.
Bait farming now offers opportunities
for the restocking of depleted bait beds using local
brood stock for many target species, but has not
yet been attempted (P. Olive and P. Cowin pers.