All the organisations participating in the creation of the Angling Trust have now undertaken the necessary constitutional steps to wind up their existing operations and form the Angling Trust on 5 January 2009.
The National Federation of Anglers (NFA) held an Extraordinary General Meeting at the National Water Sports Centre in Nottingham on Saturday 6 December to approve the dissolution of the NFA and the transfer of its assets and staff to the Angling Trust. The meeting was attended both by individual and club members who voted 30 to 2 for the resolution.
The National Federation of Sea Anglers (NFSA) held an EGM at Buckfastleigh in Devon on Saturday 6th December at which the membership approved the proposals to allow the winding up of the NFSA and the transfer of its assets to Angling Trust. Including proxy votes, the membership supported the 3 proposals by a margin of 418 to1, 418 to 1 and 412 to 8 respectively.
The Anglers' Conservation Association (ACA) held its EGM in Birmingham on Monday 8 December and agreed to change its name to Fish Legal and to become a part of the Angling Trust with a proxy vote of 1,484 in favour to 67 against the change.
The National Association of Fisheries and Angling Consultatives (NAFAC) and the Specialist Anglers Alliance (SAA) had both approved the merger with their respective memberships earlier in the year and therefore there are now no constitutional reasons for the merger not to go ahead as planned at the start of 2009.
All the organisations are now writing to their existing individual, club, riparian and fishery owner members with information about the benefits on offer from the Angling Trust. These include free public liability insurance for individual members, along with the innovative Fish For Free scheme which can earn Angling Trust members more than the cost of their subscription in cashback on fishing tackle and the annual rod licence. For angling clubs and riparian and fishery owners, there is a new discounted insurance package on offer which will offer savings of hundreds of pounds on existing cover.
Terry Fell, Chairman of the NFA commented, "This is a very historic occasion both for the NFA and the sport of angling as a whole. The NFA has been in existence since 1903 and has a wealth of history; however the board believes that now is the right time to bring together all of angling's assets and create one Governing Body for the sport. There is a huge wealth of expertise and experience in the Angling Trust and we are all looking forward to working with the other parties involved. The success of the Angling Trust will rely upon the support of the angling community and I would urge anyone who has an interest in the sport to join up and support The Voice of Angling: the Angling Trust."
Richard Ferré, Chairman of the NFSA said, "The NFSA is proud to be a part of the formation of the Angling Trust. Sea anglers share an interest in many issues with their freshwater counterparts and we will be much stronger if we pool our resources. The new Angling Trust will build on the work we have undertaken for many years, lobbying for greater protection for marine fish stocks and running national and international competitions on and off shore."
Stephen Marsh-Smith, Chairman of the ACA said, "The ACA's unrivalled record of taking polluters and others to task will be continued by the Angling Trust under a new brand: Fish Legal. All clubs, fisheries and riparian owners in England should join the Angling Trust and Fish Legal to benefit from this unique legal protection. Now that we are one organisation, we will be able to link the legal work with proactive campaigns to change policy and practice and to stop damage to fisheries happening in the first place."
Mike Heylin, Secretary of SAA said, "We have finally achieved the dream of a united front for angling with Angling Trust. Now we have to do the hard work of delivering for the nation's anglers and the fisheries they enjoy. I urge all anglers to join as soon as they can. It takes money to defend angling from national as well as European policymakers."
Martin Read, Executive Chairman of NAFAC said, "It has been a long time coming, but now the talking is over its time for action."
Trevor Johnson, Chairman of Milton Keynes Angling Association, commented, "One body - speaking with one voice for England's anglers - is now the only way forward if our sport is to survive and prosper. But let no-one think that it is all done and dusted...that all we have to do now is go fishing. If this is going to work anglers have to put their hands in their pockets and give Angling Trust their support - whether they fish for bass off Cornwall, carp in Milton Keynes or trout in a northern beck. Old rivalries and narrow interests are going to have to be put aside and everyone, at all levels, must work for the common good of our sport. That will not be easy for some...but it has to done."
Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of Angling Trust commented, "the Angling Trust will not only continue the work of all these bodies, but it will also do much more. We will now be able to represent all anglers much more efficiently and effectively. All the staff of the organisations involved are working flat out to make sure that everything is in place for the launch in January. We all hope that every angler's New Year resolution will be to join the Angling Trust."