Angling Trust challenges political parties to secure Britain’s fishing future

The Angling Trust has issued a challenge to all the major political parties vying for the votes of Britain’s two million anglers. The Trust calls on the parties to demonstrate their commitment to protecting the environment upon which the sport depends, support policies that protect and promote angling, and maximise the economic and social benefits angling delivers.

Currently, our rivers are blighted by agricultural and sewage pollution, and many are threatened by over-abstraction due to the failure of successive governments to build sufficient reservoir capacity or properly regulate the farming and water industries. Our seas are over-fished and poorly managed, with vital habitats disappearing.

The Angling Trust manifesto, entitled ‘Vote for a Fishing Future’, presents 10 specific policy asks aimed at protecting, promoting, and developing angling for all. These policy areas include pollution, regulation, marine conservation, angling access, participation, economic and social benefits of angling, anglers’ rights, reviving salmon stocks, and addressing threats from predation.

The angling manifesto has attracted the support of high-profile figures from the fishing world, including broadcaster and actor Paul Whitehouse who said:

“Get behind the Angling Trust Manifesto. We all need clean water, so for the life of me I can’t understand why we allow our rivers to be polluted, abused, and abstracted. As anglers, we see it first-hand. Enough talk. We need action.”

Jamie Cook, CEO of the Angling Trust, stated:

“Anglers see the decline in our rivers, lakes and seas every day we’re out on and by the water. An 88% decline in freshwater species since 1970, hundreds of thousands of fish killed by sewage pollution last year, Atlantic salmon now listed as endangered, a quarter of our marine fish stocks in a critical condition, just 5% of our marine environment protected from damaging bottom trawling, a climate and biodiversity crisis.

“Over the life of the next Parliament, this ever-accelerating decline must stop, things must improve. The Angling Trust manifesto sets out what needs to be done to protect fish, fishing, and the environment.”

Our 10 policy asks to protect, promote and develop angling for all:

  1. Reform the water industry to stop pollution of our rivers and seas.
  2. Abolish OFWAT and replace it with a single water regulator, accountable to the public, who puts the protection of the environment as its first priority.
  3. Beef up the EA, the MMO and local IFCAs to ensure they have the resources, expertise and power to properly enforce the law and protect angling.
  4. Ensure taxpayers’ money given to farmers is used to improve the water environment and does not support actions that damage it.
  5. Ensure government, include devolved and local government, support policies that protect and promote angling and maximise the economic, social and environmental benefits it delivers.
  6. Support actions aimed at supporting broad and diverse participation in angling through schools, community centres, youth clubs, and social prescribing.
  7. Support the rights of all anglers to go fishing and protect and develop angling access.
  8. Recognise recreationally important species in sea fisheries management and the socio-economic benefits sea angling brings to coastal communities.
  9. Take concerted action to reverse the decline in salmon stocks throughout the UK.
  10. Address the damage caused to inland fisheries by invasive species and support fishery managers’ efforts to protect their waters and businesses from unsustainable predation.

The Angling Trust manifesto has been sent to all the main parties representing English constituencies in the House of Commons ahead of the General Election to establish their commitment to securing Britain’s fishing future. The Angling Trust encourages its members to engage with local candidates to seek pledges of support for angling in the next Parliament.

Click to download a copy of the Angling Trust Manifesto

You might also like