The unification of angling's representative bodies is progressing well and is on schedule to launch in January 2009. The Chairmen of the participating organisations today announced that they all intend to sign a legal merger agreement on Sunday 19 October, 2008, at the Tackle & Guns trade fair at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire.
On the same day, the organisation will discuss its draft plans with journalists, the trade and high profile figures in angling and seek their public and financial support for the development of this new organisation to represent all anglers.
The new body will consist of two entities: 'The Angling Trust', which will be the governing body for coarse, game and sea angling in England and an unincorporated association 'Fish Legal' which will deliver - throughout the UK - the legal protection and advice currently provided by the Anglers' Conservation Association (ACA). This structure is necessary to comply with Law Society rules governing employment of solicitors and the requirements of Sport England. Mark Lloyd, currently heading up the ACA, has been selected as Chief Executive elect of the unified body.
The Angling Trust will protect, develop and promote angling; manage national and international competitions; campaign on behalf of its members and fight to conserve and restore freshwater and marine fisheries. A logo, subscription details and a manifesto will be unveiled before the new body is launched officially in January. All the participating organisations will now take the necessary constitutional steps to wind up their organisations and transfer their assets, staff and operations into the new unified body.
The organisation aims to recruit 100,000 anglers to individual membership by 2011 and expects the vast majority of angling clubs in the country to join. It will provide significant benefits to its members and will offer a Fish for Free loyalty programme which will earn its members cashback on purchases of angling permits, tackle and even the freshwater rod licence. Once launched, the new organisation will be discussing with government additional ways of funding angling, including via a levy on the rod licence.
Jim Glasspool, Chairman of FACT and the Transition Board, said: "This is the first step towards proper recognition of angling's contribution to the environment, the economy, and to the lives of its 4 million participants. The progress we have made is a tribute to the vision and determination of all those who have worked on the project."
Mark Lloyd Chief Executive elect of the Angling Trust said: "The formation of the Angling Trust is a very exciting development because it will at long last offer a professional, high-profile and powerful voice for everyone who fishes with rod and line. Anglers must now stand up and be counted - and make it their New Year's resolution to join the new organisation."