ON Wednesday 2nd February an ‘Angling Summit’ meeting was held at Portcullis House, Westminster chaired by Martin Salter MP. Environment Minister, Ben Bradshaw MP, was present for part of the meeting.     


The meeting began by informing Martin Salter of the formation of FACT Ltd, which he welcomed.


There was much discussion about future funding which included the recent announcement that Sport England has awarded the JAGB a total of £740,000 over the next four years. This compared unfavourably with other sports such as lacrosse and baseball.


Further discussion followed regarding the latest EA consultation entitled Angling 2015 but there was no additional information forthcoming.


The good news is that we were asked to draft the contents of the new Labour Party Charter for Angling. This is an excellent opportunity as not many other sports get the chance to make such a contribution.


The following matters were discussed with Ben Bradshaw.


The Minister gave us a direct and unequivocal assurance that nothing had changed in respect of the new policy for controlling cormorants. It was noted that the number of applications from 1 July 04 to 25 Jan 05 was 379 compared with 162 for the similar period last year. The number of birds licensed to be shot had increased from 644 to 1748. The Minister welcomed the fact that the Moran Bird Group will continue to meet and monitor the situation with Defra playing a greater role in future. He was informed that sawbill ducks were becoming an increasing problem for many more fisheries and he accepted that we would be making submissions to him in the future.


The new Fisheries Bill was discussed and we were informed that there is a good chance that it will be drafted in the not too distant future. This will bring into effect some of the recommendation of the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries Review.


The Minister also assured us that angling and fisheries had been removed from the new Animal Welfare Bill although there may be some doubts about the use of keep nets and live baiting. He seemed to accept our argument that, if necessary, these would be better dealt with in the new fisheries legislation rather than in a statute designed to deal with animals in captivity.


With regard to Marine Regulation and Enforcement, it would appear that Defra favour retaining the ‘old’ Sea Fisheries Committee style as opposed to giving responsibility over to the EA. Sea angling rod licences were also discussed but no firm agreement was reached. The Minister seemed particularly impressed with a new Bass Management Plan that had been prepared by the Bass Anglers Sportfishing Society. He has agreed to meet them privately to take this matter forward.


The National Association of Fisheries and Angling Consultatives (NAFAC) is the national body for local angling and fisheries stakeholder groups who between them represent some 400,000 anglers and others interested in the well being of our fisheries.