SACN welcomes yesterday’s statement by Jonathan Shaw MP, the Fisheries Minister, that he will not be introducing a Sea Angling Licence.

At the recent ‘Angling Summit’ held within the Parliament Buildings in Westminster, SACN repeated to the Fisheries Minister the advice previously delivered to DEFRA officials that now is not the time to talk about introducing a sea angling licence.

Having seen little but decline in the UK’s Recreational Sea Fisheries over the preceding decades, and following the Minister’s decision not to proceed with the introduction of a higher minimum landing size for bass (an important recreational species) there was a growing distrust developing amongst the country’s sea anglers towards the Government’s proposals contained within the Recreational Sea Angling (RSA) strategy consultation, which was being increasingly overshadowed by the proposal to introduce a sea angling licence.

SACN is pleased to see that not only has the Minister taken our advice to remove the distraction of a sea angling licence proposal from the wider debate which the RSA Strategy Consultation deserves, but that he has committed to take forward measures to benefit the UK’s Recreational Sea Fisheries.

With over 1 million participants in England and Wales, and a contribution to the economy worth over £1 billion, the Recreational Sea Angling Sector is capable of delivering far greater growth, generating business opportunities and supporting thousands of livelihoods as well as improving the sense of well-being and improving significantly the quality of life of people from all walks of life and in all regions of the UK.

But to deliver that, the sector needs a quality product with more and bigger fish available to all anglers, as previously experienced within living memory.

The Minister is to be congratulated on listening to the concerns that have been put to him, and on acting upon what he has heard, and we look forward to working with him and his officials to deliver UK Recreational Sea Fisheries that can be amongst the finest in the world, and of which he, the Government and all of the people of the UK could be justly proud. 

Speaking to Leon Roskilly of SACN, and to Richard Ferre of the National Federation of Sea Anglers, Martin Salter MP, the Government’s spokesman on angling said “I want to personally congratulate you both (and your organisations) on the forceful and professional way in which you have made your case to Ministers on this issue and I really do believe that you have proved the value of regular and honest dialogue with MPs and Government Ministers.”

Leon Roskilly said “It is a relief to get the distraction of a sea angling licence off the agenda so that we can talk positively and with confidence about the delivery of benefits and a better future for Recreational Sea Angling in the UK”.