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Main parties agree to Trust’s Manifesto for Angling ahead of General Election

The Angling Trust's Manifesto for Angling, which was published last month has secured strong cross party pledges from both Labour and Conservative parties to support angling in the next Parliament.
 

The Manifesto for Angling includes:

 
A better deal for fish and fishing once the UK has left the EU

•    retaining in full the commitment transferring all current EU environmental protections that benefit fish stocks and the aquatic environment to the UK.
•    reforming the farm subsidy system to ensure that £3 billion of taxpayers’ money is focused on action to address any pollution and habitat damage from poor agricultural practices.
•    setting clear targets and time-frames for rebuilding marine stocks recognising that many are shared with other EU Member States.

Responsible management of water
•    reforming as a matter of urgency the outdated abstraction regime to allow more sustainable management of water resources.
•    introducing national compulsory water metering and better storage facilities to avoid damaging abstractions during drought periods.
•    putting new duties on the water regulator OFWAT to take account of environmental impacts when planning future investment by water companies.

Recognition, promotion and access to angling
•    recognising the benefits of angling for the environment, the economy, individuals and communities.
•    providing support for our national teams and international angling competitions.
•    continuing to ring-fence rod licence income for angling and fisheries work.
•    protecting the rights of all anglers to fish without fear of harassment and disruption.
•    recognising that voluntary access agreements are the only way to manage the increase in water-based recreation, such as canoeing, on inland waters and avoid conflict between different user groups.
•    recognising recreational sea anglers as equal stakeholders in decisions about marine fisheries management.

Environment fit for fish and wildlife
•    removing and easing barriers to fish migration in rivers and stop others being built.
•    tackling diffuse agricultural pollution through a combination of enforcement by regulators and expert advice from charities outside the regulatory system.
•    creating a sustainable marine fishery with designated nursery areas, commercial catch-limits based on science and better protection for estuaries and inshore waters.
•    recognising the damage caused to inland fisheries by predators such as cormorants, goosanders, mink and otters and support fishery managers’ efforts to protect their waters and businesses from unsustainable predation.
•    giving active consideration to the case for including cormorants on the General Licence.

Labour’s Shadow Environment Minister Sue Hayman said: “The Labour Party appreciates the work of the Angling Trust in helping to reconnect people with the natural environment and in improving understanding of British wildlife and habitats. We recognise the economic and social contribution that angling delivers and fully support calls from the Angling Trust to ensure there is no regression on environmental standards and protections post Brexit.”

Conservative Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Angling Group, Charles Walker added: “My Conservative colleagues and I very much welcome the publication of the Angling Trust’s Manifesto which highlights clearly some of the huge challenges we face in ensuring that recreational fishing has a bright future in Britain. In particular we are looking forward to continuing our close working relationship with the Angling Trust on seeking solutions to some of the real threats to both our freshwater and marine fisheries including over abstraction from sensitive river catchments and the overfishing of vulnerable marine species.”

Angling Trust Policy Chief, Martin Salter welcomed the cross party commitment, saying: “We are delighted that the two main parties have responded positively and substantively to our Manifesto for Angling which demonstrates the political influence of the angling community as voters.
 
"Over the ten years since the Angling Trust was formed, we have substantially increased the recognition amongst Ministers and MPs of the importance of angling to the environment, the economy and to local communities. We will be holding the next government to account to guarantee anglers’ rights and pressing them to do everything possible to protect our fish stocks from the wide range of threats that they face."

Stuart Singleton-White, Head of Campaigns said: "Anglers can now go to the polls safe in the knowledge that whichever of the main parties form the next government they have committed to protect the sport we all love. This is the benefit of having a strong and credible governing body with influence in Westminster that gets taken seriously."

Whilst both the Liberal Democrats and Green parties have acknowledged the Trust's Manifesto they have yet to provide a formal response at the time of writing.

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