The Angling Trust has challenged politicians and political parties seeking election on June 8th to demonstrate their support for recreational fishing with the publication of a 2017 Manifesto for Angling.

Angling Trust members and supporters are being encouraged to contact their local candidates with a copy of the manifesto and secure commitments to protect fisheries and anglers’ rights in the next Parliament. The Trust secured cross-party support for similar manifestos in the 2015 and 2010 General Elections.

The document focuses on four key areas and the main points include:

• A Brexit for fish and fishing: Retain all current EU environmental protections; make Recreational Sea Anglers a fully legitimised user stakeholder group in any new UK fisheries policy and reform the farm subsidy system to ensure that £3 billion of taxpayers’ money is focused on action to address flooding, pollution and habitat damage.
• Responsible management of water: Reform the outdated abstraction regime; introduce national compulsory water metering and build more water storage facilities.
• Recognition, promotion and access to angling: Encourage Local Authorities and other public bodies to open waters to angling; protect the rights of all anglers to fish without fear of harassment and disruption and recognise that voluntary access arrangements are the only way to manage an increase in water based recreation such as canoeing.
• Environment fit for fish and wildlife: Set clear targets and timeframes for rebuilding marine stocks by limiting fishing mortality via a quota system or spatial closures rather than producer-driven ‘effort-based’ systems, such as Days At Sea; take concerted action to address the decline in salmon stocks throughout the UK; tackle invasive non-native species such as signal crayfish, floating pennywort, giant hogweed, Himalayan balsam and mink; reverse the decline in marine fish stocks and recognise the damage caused to inland fisheries by predators such as cormorants, goosanders, mink and otters.

Angling Trust Chief Executive Mark Lloyd said:

“Angling and the environment are too often ignored in decisions by governments and their agencies which has led to a decline in participation and fish stocks. We are hereby calling on the new government, of whatever complexion, to get a grip of the challenges facing our sport and the environment, which would deliver real improvements to the lives of millions of people who love fishing in this country. Most of the actions we are seeking would have significant benefits for local communities and society in general.”

National Campaigns Coordinator Martin Salter added:

“Brexit is the big ticket item in this election and our Manifesto for Angling makes it crystal clear that we don’t want to see some of the vital EU environmental protections that have helped clean up our rivers and seas, sacrificed as part of a shoddy political fix. Nor do we want to see marine species like bass and cod threatened by allowing commercial fishermen freedom to exploit regardless of the condition of the stocks.”