Get Fishing is the Angling Trust’s campaign to get more people fishing more often. Each year we run hundreds of events for all ages and abilities. They are funded by the Environment Agency from fishing licence income
Today the Angling Trust launches our campaign in response to the June 2020 Benyon Review on Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs).
We asking anglers to write to their MP in support of our campaign, and to send the clear message, that as anglers it is vital we are central to any future consideration on which sites will become HPMAs.
While welcoming the establishment of HPMAs as one of a number of effective ways we can protect and manage our seas and fish stocks, we strongly object to the Panel’s recommendation for recreational angling to be banned within all HPMAs automatically.
Marine conservation and recreational fishing share the same goals and the Review Panel’s recommendation to exclude the angling community from the process has created unnecessary conflict; even before the government have selected the five pilot sites they will take forward.
Sea angling generates considerable economic value to the UK economy, yet we feel it is frequently ignored or marginalised as a stakeholder regarding the management of our seas. For example, there was no representation of the recreational sea angling sector on the Panel.
The Angling Trust calls upon Ministers to accept the case for the introduction of HPMAs as proposed by the Benyon Review, but to reject the aspects of the report which equate the impacts of modern recreational sea angling to those of damaging industrial activities including trawling, dredging and drilling.
Through our response we set out evidence for recreational fishing that takes place both in and round marine protected areas in other locations around the world. In all of these cases, engagement with and the involvement of the recreational angling community has improved conservation outcomes.
Our response has been sent to all Members of Parliament with a coastal constituency this week and has been sent to all Defra Ministers, the Chair of the EFRA Select Committee and the Shadow Secretary for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.