Senior Angling Trust staff are busy doing the rounds of party political conferences to make sure that the voice of angling is communicated right to the top of the British political system.
The Trust has jointly organised, with the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), three ‘rural receptions’ at the Conservative party conference in Birmingham, at Labour’s Manchester gathering and with the Liberal Democrats in Glasgow. More than 300 conference delegates, ranging from local councillors to government Ministers, will be attending the events.
The Labour reception was addressed by their new Shadow Fisheries Minister Angela Smith MP who reconfirmed her party’s strong support for angling.
Liz Truss, the new Environment Secretary, spoke at the Conservative event and highlighted the economic importance of both angling and shooting. She heard Angling Trust Chief Executive Mark Lloyd spell out some of the challenges facing angling and fisheries and in particular the urgent need for conservation measures to halt the worrying decline in bass and salmon stocks and for meaningful action to tackle over abstraction and agricultural pollution.
Mark Lloyd said:
“We welcome the opportunity to host these events jointly with our colleagues at BASC at each of the major party political conferences because it is an effective way to make sure that the voice of angling is communicated right to the top of the British political system. In the year before a general election it is even more important that our message is heard and that we get the political parties to put on record their support for angling. We want a situation where angling is always supported whoever wins the General Election and for anglers’ interests to be considered in the hundreds of policy decisions made each year which affect fish and fishing.”
Martin Salter, National Campaign Coordinator for the Angling Trust and a former Labour MP, was in Birmingham where he lobbied David Cameron personally on the issue of bass conservation and held meetings with other wildlife groups keen to work with the Trust on seeking better protection for estuaries. Mark Owen, Head of Freshwater, spoke at the Labour reception with Bob Younger from Fish legal Scotland set to join the LibDems in Glasgow. A special political briefing on key issues affecting angling and fisheries was circulated to party delegates and MPs.
Martin Salter added:
“It has never been more important for angling to have a strong, professional and unified voice. Thanks to the influence of the Angling Trust our sport is now in the happy place where senior politicians of all parties willingly line up to extol the virtues of our angling and the contribution it makes to both the economy and the environment. This represents a marked change from where we were ten years ago and shows how important it is that we remain united. We can only afford to attend these events because of our growing army of members and donors that provide the funding for us to make the case for angling to politicians.”