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New group launched to represent UK’s £200m carp sector

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CAGC Chairman Tim Paisley chairs the latest meeting of the newly-formed group.

The UK carp market, worth an estimated £200m to £225m and still growing, is to get a more powerful political voice following the formation of a new body.

The Carp Angling Conservation Group (CACG) has been created to advise the Angling Trust and Government directly on issues concerning carp fishing. It is represented on the Freshwater Specialist Advisory Group, which is part of the Angling Trust, the sport’s primary route to Parliament.

Existing carp organisations, the Carp Society and the British Carp Study Group, have limited political influence and are now unofficially represented on the CACG.

“The presence of the CACG will ensure that important matters of angling politics relating to carp fishing will be commented on directly to the Angling Trust, or to DEFRA,” commented CACG Chairman Tim Paisley.

A press release explaining the move underlines the importance of the carp sector to the fishing tackle industry and to the UK economy.

According to the release, the total number of rod licences sold in 2013/14 was 1,244,594, of which 126,952 anglers purchased two licences. Three years earlier there had been only 39,890 two-licence purchasers, indicating substantial growth in the number of carp fishermen, who make up the vast majority of those anglers who fish with two rods.

“On this basis, it is reasonable to suggest that an estimated 250,000 anglers now fish for carp,” says Paisley.

Paisley would not be drawn on the value of the carp market. But given that research conducted in 2011 put total carp tackle sales at £174m, then the dramatic increase in two-licence purchasers over the last five years strongly suggests that carp tackle and bait sales will have risen substantially. One trade source put the value of the UK carp market at more than £200m.

When coarse and specialist angling is included, the contribution to the tackle and bait trade is closer to £400m annually, according to Paisley.

“Putting an accurate figure on the carp market is difficult,” says Paisley, “though it is certainly fair to say that there has been a significant increase in spend. Buying two licences suggests at least three rods, reels, alarms etc, so the big increase in these purchasers almost certainly represents a big increase in sales.”

“Many of us feel that carp and specialist anglers are under-represented in angling politics. The formation of the CACG is intended to change that.”

The CACG is a non-profit organisation meeting bi-monthly.

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