Boost for sea angling representation in England and Wales
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The representative body for angling in England and Wales has welcomed government backing for its efforts to have recreational sea fishing written into legislation.
Sea fishing has up to now had no formal status and no access to funding. But support from a House of Commons committee for the Angling Trust’s campaign means that sea fishing could become a recognised stakeholder in the UK’s marine fishery for the first time in history.
Following evidence presented by Angling Trust Policy Chief Martin Salter last month, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee has recommended that the Bill be expanded to make explicit reference to recreational fishing.
“We regard the bill as an opportunity to acknowledge the recreational fishing sector as a stakeholder in UK sea fisheries and recognise the advantages of more joined-up thinking between the recreational and commercial sectors,” says the Committee’s report.
Neil Parish MP, and Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, said: “The Fisheries Bill represents a once in a generation opportunity to overhaul an out-dated, overly-rigid policy.
“We must recognise the importance of the recreational sector as a valid, valued stakeholder in sea fisheries and embrace the advantages of more joined-up thinking between commercial and recreational industries.”
Salter had told MPs that despite its economic significance for jobs and for coastal communities, the recreational sector was being left to feed on the crumbs left over after commercial exploitation has had its ‘whack’.
The Angling Trust campaign has also gained support from Shadow Fisheries Minister, Luke Pollard MP, while Fisheries Minister, George Eustice, has promised to come back with further amendments to strengthen sea angling’s presence in the Bill.
Salter and David Mitchell, Head of Marine at the Angling Trust, are set to meet with DEFRA officials to discuss the proposed amendments before the Report Stage of the Bill in the Commons.
“The new Fisheries Bill is a once in a generation opportunity to usher in a new deal for sea anglers,” said Salter. “We have been working hard to have our voices heard in Parliament and it looks like our efforts are paying off.”