The Angling Trust announced today that it will extend its role representing its growing membership of individual anglers, angling clubs, fisheries, riparian owners and tackle shop owners in Wales; something which was until now restricted to England.
The role will initially be limited to a short list of issues linked to ongoing campaigns that the Angling Trust is already running: salmon netting, agricultural pollution, unlawful canoe access, tidal lagoons, commercial over-exploitation of sea bass, cormorant and goosander predation, abstraction licensing and barriers to migration.
However, if there is substantial growth in membership as a result of this move, the Trust will consider taking on a full representative role as it does in England, campaigning on scores of other issues. It would then appoint new staff based in Wales and form an Angling Trust Cymru Committee.
Steffan Jones, angling guide and author, said: “Welsh angling, in all its forms, needs professional representation and the Angling Trust has proved that it can do this to a very high standard from its work over the past seven years since the English angling organisations unified. I believe that every angler, whatever they fish for, should be a member of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal.”
A range of membership packages is available, starting at £29 a year for individuals. Angling club, fishery and riparian owner membership automatically includes a specially-designed public liability, employer’s and trustees’ insurance which is so competitive that it can save clubs and fisheries more than the cost of their membership subscription.
Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal, said: “Welsh angling faces some immediate and very severe threats with a widespread decline in many marine and freshwater fish stocks, the potential for legislation to impose unlimited canoe access and proposals for multiple tidal lagoons which could cause huge damage to marine and migratory fish populations.
“If these threats are to be fended off, anglers must have professional representation in Welsh government, as well as in Westminster and Brussels, where many decisions affecting fisheries are made.
“We are limited in what we can do at the moment by resources, but if lots of anglers join up, we could do much more to protect fish and fishing in England and Wales in the future.”
There are currently three separate governing bodies for angling in Wales: the Welsh Salmon and Trout Angling Association, the Welsh Federation of Sea Anglers and the Welsh Federation of Coarse Anglers. There is also an umbrella body called Angling Cymru. The Angling Trust has offered to work closely with all of these organisations, which are principally involved in running Welsh angling teams and angling development, to ensure that there is a united voice for all anglers.