Exciting New Plans for Saltwater Angling

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There is an exciting future ahead for sea angling in England and Wales. The Fisheries Act 2020 and the renewed fisheries management plans, that will flow from that Act in the coming years, give us the opportunity to work to ensure the interests of us all, as sea anglers, are is recognised by the government in future decisions on managing our inshore waters. For the first time, the Fisheries Act 2020 recognises recreational sea fishing as a legitimate stakeholder, alongside the interests of the commercial catching sector. We want to see a marine environment where the interest of sea angling is considered and the contribution we make to managing and protecting the marine environment is valued. Exciting opportunities lay ahead, but big challenges too.

Our vision is that in the years to come there will be both more and bigger fish for us to catch, and a vibrant sport for us all to enjoy. To deliver this vision we will inject greater impetus and resource into developing sea angling participation and representation.

Angling Trust CEO Jamie Cook said;

“There has been a historical divide between saltwater and freshwater angling in England and Wales as well as within the Angling Trust. Much of this has been driven by the delivery of external contracts related to fishing license income, which has previously restricted the work that can be completed in saltwater environments.

“The Angling Trust has seen strong growth in both individual membership and trade support thanks to our work over the past year. As a not-for-profit organisation every penny will be re-invested to increase our influence across all disciplines of angling. Whilst we have been actively driving a number of marine issues through our campaign’s team, we need to utilise our resources better to ensure that wherever possible Angling Trust staff work actively across both freshwater and saltwater.

“The area I am most excited to see develop is in grassroots participation where our network of seven regional officers will now have an opportunity to actively engage with sea fishing clubs to run participation events and introduce more people to fishing. This will add additional capacity to the work we have been developing though our highly successful sea angling forums.

“One of my first fishing memories was catching a small plaice off the pier on the Isle of Wight during a family holiday – my fishing journey continued in freshwater closer to home, but that gateway was there, and we must utilise the coastline and the fishing opportunities it offers to bring new anglers into the sport.”

The new plans for sea fishing will see the Angling Trust working with Defra to develop longer term investment into recreational sea angling.

The Fisheries Bill provides an opportunity to present the many benefits angling provides to coastal and rural communities and the major part recreational sea angling can play in the future.

We are increasing our engagement with the IFCAs (Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities) to ensure there is positive dialogue and that recreational anglers are strongly represented in the development of byelaws and local consultation issues. By developing our regional footprint each area of England and Wales will have a go-to individual who knows the specific area and is well engaged in the issues.

Jamie commented,

“Our team have made significant progress across the past year and are working closely with the likes of the National Mullet Club, Save Our Seabass, Shark Angling Club of Great Britain and Bluefin Tuna UK to develop and drive national policy, and through our work with universities we are developing “citizen science” projects that will enable sea anglers to contribute to our understanding of the marine environment and the fish we want to catch. Our campaigns team are leading on HPMAs and continue to represent sea anglers across a number of national issues, working to ensure the voice of sea angling is heard by Defra in its future policy and management plans.

“I hope that saltwater anglers across England and Wales will welcome this direct investment and in turn get behind the work the Angling Trust are doing to support and develop sea angling by joining and allowing us to do more for fish, fishing and the environment.”

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