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Environment Agency Chair Gives Thumbs-Up to Fisheries Partnership Working

03.08.17

Kingsbury Water Park EA and AT Partnership Day
The formal Angling Trust and Environment Agency enforcement partnership has full support at the highest level, as indicated by this joint patrol at Kingsbury Water Park, Warwickshire, in July 2017.

The Environment Agency Chair, Emma Howard Boyd, along with EA Director of Environment & Business Harvey Bradshaw, visited Kingsbury Water Park on Monday 24 July to witness the joint work of EA fisheries and the Angling Trust in action.  They saw first-hand the way that the Voluntary Bailiff Service supports the work of the Environment Agency’s enforcement staff to tackle rod licence evasion and other illegal fishing in partnership with the police service.  They also examined fish refuges which had been installed with funds from the Angling Improvement Fund to protect fish from cormorants and to provide spawning and nursery habitat for fish. 

The Angling Trust’s Chairman, George Stephenson, along with Chief Executive Mark Lloyd and Head of Freshwater Mark Owen, spent time explaining how the partnership approach had not only made rod licence funds go further by reducing delivery costs and securing match funding, but also that the benefits of several organisations working together with the support of hundreds of volunteers led to outcomes which were much more effective at tackling the widespread problems of illegal fishing and unsustainable predation.

At a meeting over a working lunch, the Angling Trust representatives raised a number of issues of concern to anglers with the senior Environment Agency staff including tackling pollution in rivers, particularly from agriculture.  There was agreement that there is a need for new ways to deal with these issues and that the partnership approach should be extended to monitoring water quality. The Trust will be working closely with the Agency over the coming months to identify ways of working together to find solutions.

Emma Howard Boyd, Chair of the Environment Agency, said: “We are always ready to partner with others, including farmers, businesses, and water companies, to help reduce pollution and improve water quality, but that does not mean we shy away from tough action against polluters.  Our latest assessment shows that 81% of rivers, lakes and estuaries have water flows that support the ecology well, but there is always more to do. We favour a partnership approach with the Angling Trust on this issue alongside our work together to encourage more people to get into fishing, protect fisheries from predators and fight fisheries crime.”

Environment Agency Director of Environment and Business Harvey Bradshaw said: “It's inspirational to see the Angling Trust, Environment Agency, Police and local authority working in partnership to enhance the environment and the enjoyment people get from it.  It shows how much more we can all achieve working together, whether through voluntary bailiffs, delivering improved habitat for fish or improved access for disabled anglers.”

Angling Trust Chairman George Stephenson said: “I was delighted to meet some of the hundreds of people who have volunteered to help make the Voluntary Bailiff Service such a runaway success and to see an example of how the funds raised from rod licences are being spent efficiently to improve angling facilities at this fishery, along with countless others throughout the country.”

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust & Fish Legal said: “The work that we have been doing to improve fish and fishing over the past few years is going from strength to strength and I hope that we can build on it to ensure that every pound of rod licence money is spent as effectively as possible.  I am very grateful to Emma and Harvey for taking the time to visit and for their offer to work more closely with us to address issues of concern to anglers. Such high level engagement with fisheries and angling by the Environment Agency was unheard of 10 years ago, before the formation of the Angling Trust.”

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