Do anglers and those who form part of the huge angling industry feel inferior? I sometimes think that the apparent lack of willingness to stand up and be counted isn't apathy or lack of assertiveness but a feeling of inferiority. Its one thing during a debate about overfishing to hear an angler defend the commercial industry because "they have to earn a living" but recently in a robust debate about overfishing in a tackle shop, the proprietor who was bemoaning the lack of fish as a major factor for the lack of trade made the same comment! When I asked him what he and his staff did for a living, he smiled and said "Yeah, I see what you mean"
According to Labour's "Charter for Angling" the economic impact of angling is £5 billion. Why then, are angler's requirements in terms of fish stocks completely ignored? The value of the entire landings of the industry in England and Wales from the commercial fleet is only £1/4 billion and when shellfish, monk, hake etc are removed from the value to leave just those resources which are of direct interest to anglers, the value falls to £.12 billion. And don't forget that these landings come from a totally unsustainable level of exploitation leading to plummeting stocks. If commercial fishing mortality is reduced to sustainable levels then the economic value for this sector will diminish even more. On the other hand, if stocks are given a chance to become restored, then the growth in the already economically more significant recreational sector will really take off. This is precisely what has happened in other parts of the world where anglers don't feel inferior--THEY FEEL SUPERIOR!
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