Modern management to improve the valuable recreational sea angling industry in East Anglia was called for at the week-end.


Steve Coppolo, a prominent local angler from Great Horkesley, Colchester,

said the needs of sea anglers who were boosting tourism in the area, must be recognised as well as those of commercial fishermen.


“Sea anglers want to be able to catch more and bigger fish.  They don’t want to compete with miles and miles of gillnet.  They want to fish where they can catch a decent size fish.


“If they’re spending £30, £40 or £50 on a fishing trip they don’t want to be

going catching tiddlers that have managed to squeeze through gillnets.”


If present day fisheries management continues the commercial industry “will

fish itself into oblivion,” Mr. Coppolo told Talksport radio.  Fishing fleets

were getting small because of fuel prices, not enough fish to catch and poor

prices for what was caught. 


“We won’t have a commercial fishing industry.  It will just be foreign boats

coming in and fishing up to our beaches.”


A plan by Mr. Coppolo and two other local anglers Tom Pinborough and Bob Cox, to encourage recreational angling in the estuaries of the Stour and Orwell rivers on the Essex/Suffolk border, will be considered for the second time by the Eastern Sea Fisheries Joint Committee on Wednesday (July 27).


It was rejected in January this year but recent recognition of the importance

of sea angling to coastal economies enabled local anglers to get it back onto the agenda.


A report by the prime minister’s strategy unit stated that sea anglers in

Britain spend between £1 billion and £1.3 billion a year on their sport.  This

brought the importance of the sport into sharp focus.


The plan for the Stour and Orwell estuaries, shows that sea anglers living in

the area covered by the Eastern England Tourist Board spend about £55 million a year. 


More is spent by visitors to the estuaries which have gained an enviable

reputation as two of the finest sea angling places in eastern England.