The Sea Angling Sector put its case to Government officials in the South West


The NFSA (Wyvern Division) and BASS in conjunction with the Government Office South West, hosted a workshop on Jan 15 at the National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth, to present the case for the promotion and development of sea angling in the region.

The aim was to promote the optimal use of fish stocks for sustainable economic value to the South West economy.
Recent studies confirm that the economic impacts from recreational angling exceed that of commercial fishing and that much of the trickle down expenditure contributes significantly to tourism, and yet policy makers have not woken up to the potential.

Examples of successful sport fishing development were highlighted from around the globe and included examples from as close as Ireland and as far away as the Turks & Caicos islands.
Two consultants specialising in fisheries management and economics were flown in from the
USA to relate the American experience with particular reference to the restoration of striped bass and the multi billion dollar recreational fishing industry now supported by innovative fisheries policies.

The workshop attracted many with an interest in the economy of the South West and included representatives from The Department Environment Food & Rural Affairs, The Department of Culture Media and Sport, The Environment Agency, Sport England, The South West Regional Development Agency, Devon County Council, Plymouth City Council, South West Fish Producers, British Marine Federation, and Tourism.

The workshop was chaired by John Leballeur of BASS, and included five presentations, the first of which by NFSA Development Officer David Rowe, explained “Who sea anglers were, and their objectives”. This was followed by “Why the opportunities had not been realised” by Malcolm Gilbert, NFSA Fisheries Rep. & BASS European Liaison Officer.

The USA presenters Andy Loftus and Gil Radonski gave a thought-provoking and detailed account of how fisheries policy was a much more public affair in the US, providing full participation from the recreational sector.

They stressed the key to success was sound fisheries management and demonstrated how sea angling participation levels and the consequential economic impacts, were directly related to fish stock abundance.

Andrew Syvret, a fisheries consultant based in Jersey, Channel Islands, reported on numerous global examples where the potential for developing the sea angling product had been recognised and specific policies to realise the benefits had been implemented.
Russell Weston of Snowbee, a fishing tackle company based in
Plymouth and just one of thousands of stakeholder businesses who are routinely overlooked by the fisheries management regime but whose very existence is dependent on fish stocks, confirmed the need for high quality fisheries management to restore those species of direct interest to angling.

The final presentation focussed on “What can be done”, so that the South West can capitalise on its multi species fish stock resources, many of particular interest to anglers.

During a question and answer session the consensus view was that dialogue between the angling sector and the policy makers should be maintained.

Improved recognition of the economic impact from the angling sector together with restoration of those fish stocks that are of direct interest to sea angling are essential if the potential is to be realised.