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Labour's Anglers' Charters

Nov 26,2006 SACN

There have been two ‘Angler’s Charters’ published by the Labour Party, the first before they became the party of Government and the second published shortly before the General Election in 2005 when they successfully campaigned to remain in office.

Both charters covered the concerns of all angling disciplines, below are the parts aimed at the concerns of the Recreational Sea Angling Sector.  

Extract from Labour’s ‘Anglers’ Charter’ published shortly before they took office as the Government of Great Britain:

Labour recognises the importance of sea angling as a leisure activity. 

Our policy in this area must inevitably reflect our policy towards the commercial fisheries. 

The problems of fish stock management, over fishing, enforcement and the Common Fisheries Policy inevitably impact on the leisure fishing sector. 

It is Labour’s intention to seek a major renegotiation of the CFP, strengthening national control over fisheries management. 

Both our inshore commercial fishery and sea anglers have much in common in policies to preserve stock. 

The following policies from our existing commercial fisheries policy statement have considerable relevance to the leisure sector;

• Ending Industrial Fishing in EU waters and decommissioning the industrial fleet.

• Introducing a Coastal Zone Planning Policy that will recognise important areas for sports fishing, introducing closed areas for spawning and preserving breeding stocks, introduce artificial reefs, (possibly on the edge of closed areas to protect them from illegal trawling) and protecting existing public access to coastal areas.

• Introduce stronger conservation measures, including tighter enforcement and possible control of certain types of gear (traps and monofilament gill nets) where there are problems with over-fishing, particularly by part-time fishermen.

• Negotiate with the EU for the right to impose non-discriminatory unilateral conservation measures such as square mesh panels and in UK waters for all vessels fishing within them.

• Consult with both the industry and sports anglers about the introduction of sensitive areas where nets will not be allowed close to the shoreline.  Ensure there is full consultation with angling organisations on restrictions on bait digging gor conservation reasons.

• Maintain our 6 mile inshore limit and negotiate with the EU for the extension of the 12 mile exclusive national limit.

• Strong enforcement of existing restricted areas such as the SW Mackerel box with quota priority for selective methods of fishing and controls on discards.

• Better enforcement of landing of large quantities of Sea Bass under the guise of leisure fishing.

• A stronger role for the Sea Fisheries Committees in conservation policy.

• A review of Minimum Landing Sizes (MLS) and a ban on roundfish landings.

In producing this charter for Anglers, Labour is spelling out a series of commitments it wants to make on behalf of anglers and the wider community and environment. 

Our intention has not been to proscribe policies for every single issue. 

We understand that the desirable situation for all sports is to be governed by their ruling bodies and left free from Government interference where appropriate.

This charter reinforces the strong commitment Labour has to the sport of angling, the protection and sustainable use of our environment and the protection of public access. 

We look forward to the continuing development of close co-operation between Labour and the Angling Governing Bodies Liaison Group. 

Labour has also successfully established links with local and regional clubs in many parts of the country and we will welcome continuing input from the angling world on the ideas we have put forward.

Tom Pendry MP, Shadow Minister for Sport and Tourism

Elliot Morley MP, Shadow Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries

Joan Ruddock MP, Shadow Minister for Environmental Protection

Kim Howells MP, Shadow Minister for Home Affairs.

From the Document produced by the Labour Party in 2005:

Ben Bradshaw – “Working with our angling spokesman Martin Salter, my ministerial colleagues in government and backbench Labour MPs, I am determined to do all I can to support angling and to see our fisheries improve.”


Following the publication of the P.M.S.U. report on how to ensure a sustainable future for sea fishing in all its forms. DEFRA has undertaken a wide-ranging consultation in which Recreational Sea Angling has been an active participant.

The key outcomes sought from a new Marine Bill are: -

• Protection of fish stocks and spawning grounds.

• Creation of Marine Conservation Zones.

• Introduction of Minimum Landing Sizes for certain sea fishing species.
• Better managements of inshore waters.

• Proper representation of recreational sea angling and an overhaul of the current Sea Fisheries Committees.

• Better control of inshore netting.

• Management of fish stocks of species such as bass, wrasse and mullet specifically for angling.

• A commitment to a new Marine Bill is contained in the current DEFRA 5 year plan.


Labour acknowledges the arguments put forward by the National Federation of Sea Anglers (N.F.S.A.) that many of the following actions would need to take place alongside the introduction of a sea angling rod licence.

- The proper enforcement of regulations and minimum landing sizes.

- The replacement of the Sea Fishery Committees with an agency charged with marine ecology management – possibly by extending the responsibilities of the E.A.

- Or, vastly improved representation by sea anglers, charter boat interests and the tackle trade on reformed Sea Fisheries Committees.

- Restrictions on gill nets in inshore waters and around some wreck fishing grounds.

- The creation of recreational sea fisheries where commercial fishing is excluded.

- Increased protection for fish stocks from over exploitation.


Labour recognises that there are some species of sea fish which could return Best Value for the UK, and the overall marine environment, if designated and managed primarily as recreational species.

Bass are a prime example of this and consideration should be given to their designation as a Recreational Species, managed primarily for the development of Recreational Sea Angling, in accordance with proposals put forward in the Bass Management Plan prepared by the Bass Anglers Sportfishing Society.

The Bass Management plan has suggested:

1. Bass Commercial Licences - for the retention of bass.

2. Bass Carcass Tags – to cap effort, increase traceability and improve enforcement.

3. Bass Bag Limits – to limit the retention of bass by unlicensed fishermen and anglers and to aid detection and enforcement of illegal fishing.

4. Closed Season – to protect spawning bass when they are vulnerable.

5. Increases in Minimum Landing Size – to strengthen the brood stock.

6. Nursery Area additional measures and enforcement – to protect juveniles.

7. Near-Shore Netting Restrictions – to protect our fragile coastal zones.

As well as delivering an angling product that would provide anglers with more and bigger fish, these measures will also allow the development of a sustainable inshore fishery concentrated on producing a high quality, high value product.

(The full charter can be read at: http://www.martinsalter.com/pdf/charter.pdf )


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