The Angling Trust has presented a Manifesto for Angling to the three main political parties on behalf of the nation’s 3 million plus anglers.
The document was presented to Fisheries Minister Huw Irranca-Davies and Shadow Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon in the House of Commons, and a copy was also sent to Andrew George of the Liberal Democrats. Also present at the hand over were the Chair and Vice Chair of the All Party Angling Group, Martin Salter (Labour, Reading West) and Charles Walker (Conservative, Broxbourne).
The manifesto calls for the next Parliament to promote the benefits of angling to society, to recognise the rights of anglers and to create healthy freshwater and marine environments.
Angling contributes at least £3.5 billion to the economy each year. Tens of thousands of people are employed in angling and its related industries. Game and sea angling represent significant opportunities for anglers to catch their own dinner in a sustainable manner. Angling provides huge benefits for health, education and well being to people of all ages, and it is often the only outdoor activity easily available to urban communities suffering deprivation. Anglers invest millions of hours of volunteer time into the maintenance and improvement of water environments by clearing litter, restoring habitats and monitoring pollution.
Angling Trust Chief Executive Mark Lloyd said: “For angling to continue to grow and prosper, Government and its agencies must commit to protecting the rights of anglers, improving the health of our fisheries and supporting programmes to increase participation in the sport.
“We hope that all the parties will offer their support to this document which sets out a summary of the concerns of the nation’s 3 million plus anglers, based on the Angling Trust’s campaign strategy ‘Fighting for the Future of Fishing’ which was published earlier this year.”
Mike Heylin, Chairman of the Angling Trust added: “Angling has come a long way in recent years; no longer do we simply plead with politicians to leave us alone. We are actively engaged in developing policies for angling and fisheries and now since the formation of the Angling Trust, we are strong enough to demand of the three main political parties a cast iron commitment not just to allow us to continue to go fishing, but actively to promote angling and improve the condition of our fisheries.”
• Promote the benefits of angling for the environment and individuals;
• Promote angling in order to bring new people to the sport;
• Provide support for national and international angling competitions;
• Assist in the development of further programmes to increase participation, particularly amongst groups who have yet to discover the joys of angling;
• Continue government funding to develop the sport from grass roots participation through to elite performance;
• Encourage Local Authorities to open waters under their control to angling
Recognise the Rights of Anglers
• Ensure that government and its agencies recognise and support angling interests;
• Ensure that angling is fully represented in all relevant executive and advisory bodies;
• Provide clear information to anglers about how their rod licence monies are being used;
• Protect the rights of all anglers to fish without fear of harassment and disruption;
• Recognise that voluntary access agreements are the only way to manage an increase in water based recreation on inland waters;
• Recognise that anglers have a direct interest in the health and management of sea fish stocks.
Create Healthy Angling Environments
• Improve the freshwater and marine environment for fish and anglers by implementing the Water Framework Directive and Marine Framework Strategy Directive;
• Remove and ease barriers to fish migration in rivers and stop others being built;
• Tackle diffuse agricultural and urban pollution, reduce the demands on water resources and naturalise rivers to allow adaptation to climate change;
• Develop action plans and research programmes to tackle invasive non-native species such as signal crayfish, floating pennywort, giant hogweed, Himalayan balsam and mink.
• Reverse the decline in marine fish stocks and develop a recovery plan for a sustainable marine fishery at historic stock levels;
• Allow fishery managers to control populations of cormorants and goosanders at sustainable levels;
• Support measures to develop whole ecosystem sustainable balances between predators and prey.