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UK Government backs down on charter fishing ban

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The UK Government has overturned an ‘absurd and illogical’ ban on charter fishing.
↑ Stuart Singleton-White, Head of Campaigns at the Angling Trust: “It’s great news that the Government has backed down, but shameful that such nonsense was ever put forward in the first place.”

The UK Government has withdrawn its decision to ban the operation of skippered charter boats in England.

The ban, implemented on June 11th by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), had been branded ‘absurd and illogical’ by fishing and boating organisations.

The guidance was contrary to the COVID-19 guidance issued on June 1st that allowed up to six people from different households to meet outside.

And both the Angling Trust and the Professional Boatman’s Association, along with scuba diving groups, campaigned for its removal, sending a letter to Environment Secretary George Eustice saying the restrictions were unreasonable and had little basis in law.

The letter also raised the possibility of a legal challenge by skippers for damage to their businesses. 

The reversal, which became effective from July 4th, comes as a huge relief to charter boat businesses and to the tackle industry that supports them.

“The absurd and illogical guidance that emerged from DEFRA was putting livelihoods at risk,” said Stuart Singleton-White, Head of Campaigns at the Angling Trust. “It’s great news that it has backed down, but shameful that such nonsense was ever put forward in the first place.”

Trust Board member Tim Macpherson said: “It was absurd that DEFRA caused so much confusion in contradicting previous guidance. Charter boats contribute so much to the economy, particularly of our struggling seaside towns and, of course, are a vital way for thousands of sea anglers to get out and enjoy their sport.”

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