MPs met with Mark Lloyd and Martin Salter of the Angling Trust in the House of Commons this week to re-establish the All Party Parliamentary Group on Angling in the new Parliament which was elected at the General Election on May 7th. The Conservative MP for Broxbourne in Hertfordshire, Charles Walker, was elected Chairman for the second time.

The group was first set up by Martin Salter in 2005 and he was followed as Chairman by Charles Walker MP when Mr Salter retired from politics in 2010. For the last three years the post was filled by George Hollingbery MP who has been promoted to the government whips office and, as a result, is no longer eligible to stand. The angling MPs come together to receive regular briefings from the Angling Trust and others and raise issues of concern on the floor of the Commons and directly with ministers. In the last Parliament they were particularly active in pressing ministers to take action to conserve bass stocks.

Among the issues raised with the politicians at the meeting were the plans for a new bass minimum landing size, the need to reform inshore netting regulations, the impact of tidal lagoons on fish passage, the poor state of salmon stocks and the need to ensure that the Environment Agency has sufficient resources to look after our rivers.

At the end of the meeting Charles Walker was presented with honorary membership of Reading & District Angling Association (RDAA) by Martin Salter in thanks for all he has done to support and promote angling in his time in Parliament. As well as being National Campaigns Coordinator for the Angling Trust Mr Salter is president of RDAA.

Charles Walker said :

“It’s important that the Nation’s most popular outdoor pastime has advocates in Parliament, particularly when anglers are in the forefront of campaigns for a healthier environment and cleaner rivers. I’m delighted to be back in the chair and following in the footsteps of my friends and predecessors Martin Salter and George Hollingbery. Although I’m better known as a fly fisherman I love my trips down to the Kennet and Avon and I’m looking forward to joining up with the guys from Reading & District for some more winter piking on their fabulous waters”

Angling Trust CEO Mark Lloyd added:

“We are very grateful to all the MPs who are involved in the Parliamentary Group for Angling.  Their support for the many issues affecting fish stocks and fishing is invaluable to the Angling Trust as we have seen over the past year on bass in particular and other issues which we have raised on behalf of our membership.  Charles Walker is a highly energetic and committed Chairman of the group and we welcome the fact that all the major parties are represented.  This level of input to the parliamentary process is yet another benefit of having a single unified representative organisation for all anglers.”