Defra – More and bigger fish

New measures to maintain and grow the £1 billion recreational sea angling (RSA) industry have been revealed by Whitehall.

The twin objectives of Defra’s Recreational Sea Angling Strategy for England are to “provide more and bigger fish within a healthy and sustainable ecosystem and environment” and “maintain and increase participation in RSA on a sustainable basis…across all groups in society to provide socio-economic benefits.”

The strategy is intended as a guideline, primarily for the 12 sea fisheries committees which regulate the marine environment, including fishing, for six miles out around the coast of England and Wales.

Defra says it wants to “realise real improvements” for anglers before any control of their activities, such as licensing. It concedes that “large and sustainable fish stocks and a healthy marine environment are the primary elements which affect the angling experience.”

Defra says there should be better access to angling sites, more boat launching facilities, artificial reefs to attract fish and areas of the sea reserved for angling or where only limited commercial fishing was allowed.

The strategy admits that angling is under-represented in sea fisheries management despite its increasingly significant social and economic contribution to the nation. Managements at national, regional and local levels should recognise the needs of RSA alongside other stakeholders.

Mr Lochhead needs to take this on board and also recognise that decisions based on socio-economic factors should not just address the concerns of commercial fishing.

Category: SSACN Announcements, UK Government News

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