UK Sea Fishing Angling Trust Marine Conservation


Catchwise: The Biggest Sea Angling Survey in Over a Decade

Catchwise is a new survey of sea angling taking place across England and Wales in 2023 and 2024. The project has been co-developed with sea anglers and aims to significantly improve the recognition of the sport’s value to coastal communities and inform relevant fisheries management decisions accurately.  

It will be the biggest single study of sea angling undertaken for over a decade and will involve a major shore and private boat survey of sea anglers as well as an online survey of charter boats. Catchwise will involve face-to-face surveys with thousands of sea anglers around the English and Welsh coasts. Recruitment for volunteer surveyors is now open. 

Catchwise is the first project of its kind to feature collaboration with the sea angling community on this scale. Representatives across the angling community from organisations like the Angling Trades Association, Angling Cymru and the Institute of Fisheries Management, will join an Advisory Group comprised of individual anglers, charter skippers, scientists, fisheries managers, and government agencies to provide input throughout the project’s duration.  

 The Angling Trust has partnered with Substance and Cefas on the Catchwise project over concerns regarding previous surveys focused on sea angling and their increasing contribution to fisheries management and policy. 

Hannah Rudd, Policy & Advocacy Manager at the Angling Trust said “The sea angling community have been calling for previous data collection projects on sea angling to be “ground-truthed” with a nationwide survey that focuses on collecting data on the ground rather than using a computer modelling approach. We are excited to support the Catchwise project which seeks to address these issues by ensuring recreational sea angling voices are heard throughout the design and delivery of the project. We hope sea anglers and charter skippers across England and Wales will support Catchwise and get involved with the project.” 

Now that recreational sea angling is a stakeholder under the Fisheries Act (2020), the community are consulted on, and recognised in, fisheries management in UK waters for the first time. The Fisheries Act (2020) embeds recreational sea angling into fisheries management, stating that biological, social, and economic data on recreational fisheries are used to inform Fisheries Management Plans. Recreational anglers catch around 100 different species each year, many of which are non-quota and non-commercial, and this project will provide new and improved data on data-poor stocks that are recreationally valuable.  

Galini Samlidou, Catchwise Project Coordinator at the Angling Trust said “Catchwise is a unique opportunity to gather reliable data from face-to-face surveys with recreational anglers and skippers. If a surveyor approaches you during a fishing trip, please take the opportunity to engage with them to ensure the data that comes out of this project is as representative of recreational sea angling as possible.” 

Rudd continues “Data is becoming increasingly important in defending the interests of sea angling, ensuring its sustainability, and delivering opportunities for the sport to maximise its benefits to coastal communities. By demonstrating the significant value of sea angling across the English and Welsh coast and gathering data on species that are important to the sport, we have the best chance of delivering for sea anglers through the ongoing Fisheries Management Plans.” 

Catchwise is funded through the UK Seafood Scheme: Fisheries Industry Science Partnership (FISP) scheme provided by the UK government. The survey will run for 12 months from July 2023. 

Visit the project website here 

Become a Catchwise volunteer 

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