EFTTA, THE European Fishing Tackle Trade Association, has welcomed the formation of a new single body to represent angers interests in the UK.

The Chairmen of all of the country’s angling’s representative bodies have signed a merger agreement which will see them become a single new organisation to represent all anglers from 5 January 2009: The Angling Trust.

One of the aims of The Angling Trust is to generate 100,000 individual members in the next three years.

EFTTA chief executive officer, Jean-Claude Bel said: “We welcome this initiative. As in many countries, the UK government has always found it difficult to work more closely with the recreational angling fraternity because of the number of organisations involved.

“Creating one official body will unite the sport and make it stronger and better-equipped to represent itself. If all of the anglers in the UK got behind The Angling Trust and became individual members then it would become an extremely powerful voice in the ongoing battle to make governments understand the important and positive role recreational fishing plays in society.”

The historic document forming The Angling Trust was signed on Sunday, 19 October, at the Tackle & Guns trade fair at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire, by:

    * Jim Glasspool, Fisheries and Angling Conservation Trust (FACT)
    * Stephen Marsh-Smith, Anglers’ Conservation Association (ACA)
    * Martin Read, National Association of Fisheries and Angling Consultatives (NAFAC)
    * Terry Fell, National Federation of Anglers (NFA)
    * Richard Ferré, National Federation of Sea Anglers (NFSA)
    * Christopher Evans, Specialist Anglers’ Alliance (SAA)

The Trust will continue to consult on its plans for the rest of 2008 and is very keen to ensure that it is representative of all anglers.

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive elect of the Angling Trust said: “We will be successful if we listen to our members and take action. This new organisation therefore has one principal aim: to serve its members. Now we need all anglers to stand up and be counted and join the Angling Trust in January.”

The new body will consist of two entities: ‘The Angling Trust’, which will be the governing body for coarse, game and sea angling in England – and an unincorporated association ‘Fish Legal’ which will deliver the legal protection and advice currently provided by the Anglers’ Conservation Association (ACA).

The Angling Trust will protect, develop and promote angling; manage national and international competitions; campaign on behalf of its members and fight to conserve and restore freshwater and marine fisheries. A logo, subscription details and a manifesto will be unveiled before the new body is launched officially in January.

The organisation aims to recruit 100,000 anglers to individual membership by 2011 and expects the vast majority of angling clubs in the country to join. It will provide significant benefits to its members and will offer a Fish 4 Free loyalty programme which will earn its members cashback on purchases of angling permits, tackle and even the freshwater rod licence.