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No Sea Angling Licence

Mar 19,2008 SACN


 Press Release

Information from the Sea Anglers’ Conservation Network (SACN)

19th March 2007 

No Sea Angling Licence

SACN welcomes yesterday’s statement by Jonathan Shaw MP, the Fisheries Minister, that he will not be introducing a Sea Angling Licence.

At the recent ‘Angling Summit’ held within the Parliament Buildings in Westminster, SACN repeated to the Fisheries Minister the advice previously delivered to DEFRA officials that now is not the time to talk about introducing a sea angling licence.

Having seen little but decline in the UK’s Recreational Sea Fisheries over the preceding decades, and following the Minister’s decision not to proceed with the introduction of a higher minimum landing size for bass (an important recreational species) there was a growing distrust developing amongst the country’s sea anglers towards the Government’s proposals contained within the Recreational Sea Angling (RSA) strategy consultation, which was being increasingly overshadowed by the proposal to introduce a sea angling licence.

SACN is pleased to see that not only has the Minister taken our advice to remove the distraction of a sea angling licence proposal from the wider debate which the RSA Strategy Consultation deserves, but that he has committed to take forward measures to benefit the UK’s Recreational Sea Fisheries.

With over 1 million participants in England and Wales, and a contribution to the economy worth over £1 billion, the Recreational Sea Angling Sector is capable of delivering far greater growth, generating business opportunities and supporting thousands of livelihoods as well as improving the sense of well-being and improving significantly the quality of life of people from all walks of life and in all regions of the UK.

But to deliver that, the sector needs a quality product with more and bigger fish available to all anglers, as previously experienced within living memory.

The Minister is to be congratulated on listening to the concerns that have been put to him, and on acting upon what he has heard, and we look forward to working with him and his officials to deliver UK Recreational Sea Fisheries that can be amongst the finest in the world, and of which he, the Government and all of the people of the UK could be justly proud. 

Speaking to Leon Roskilly of SACN, and to Richard Ferre of the National Federation of Sea Anglers, Martin Salter MP, the Government’s spokesman on angling said “I want to personally congratulate you both (and your organisations) on the forceful and professional way in which you have made your case to Ministers on this issue and I really do believe that you have proved the value of regular and honest dialogue with MPs and Government Ministers.”

Leon Roskilly said “It is a relief to get the distraction of a sea angling licence off the agenda so that we can talk positively and with confidence about the delivery of benefits and a better future for Recreational Sea Angling in the UK”.

-End-

Sea Anglers’ Conservation Network (SACN)

www.sacn.org

Fighting for Anglers Fighting for Fish

Notes for Editors


-         SACN is a campaigning organisation of Recreational Sea Anglers (RSA), drawn largely from the RSA angling internet community, with a direct membership approaching six hundred, many of those being clubs, federations and other organisations.

-         Details of the Recreational Sea Angling Strategy Consultation, which closes on 31st March 2008 are available on the DEFRA website at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/sea-angling/index.htm

-         The Statement by the Minister is contained in Parliamentary Written Answers for March 18th, published in Hansard. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmhansrd/cm080318/text/80318w0004.htm#08031877000048

18 Mar 2008 : Column 944W

Angling: Licensing

Martin Salter: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he plans to proceed with the introduction of a sea angling licence; and if he will make a statement. [194586]

Jonathan Shaw: I met sea angling representatives at the Angling summit on 18 February where a number of concerns were raised with me regarding the introduction of a chargeable licence for sea angling. I have also discussed the issue direct with anglers around the coast, as have my officials. In view of the concerns expressed, including the extent to which sea anglers expected to see benefits from the charge, I have decided not to proceed with enabling powers in the Marine Bill to introduce a sea angling licence.

I will, none the less, continue with a package of other measures that aim to provide benefits for anglers, including a review of nursery areas for the protection of bass stocks and of inshore netting, and a pilot study on area-based restrictions to support sea angling. I have also recently announced measures to increase protection of tope, a key species for anglers.

I will reconsider the arguments for introducing a recreational sea angling licence at some stage in the future in the light of progress on the aforementioned measures.

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Press Release from Martin Salter MP

For immediate release:

19 March 2008

SALTER SUPPORTS SHAW OVER SEA ANGLING LICENCE


Labour’s Angling Spokesman Martin Salter MP has backed Fisheries Minister Jonathan Shaw in his decision not to proceed with a sea angling rod licence at the present time.

Mr Salter arranged a number of meetings between sea angling organisations and Mr Shaw and has drawn attention in his Commons speeches to the promise in Labour’s “Charter for Angling” to only introduce a sea angling licence alongside other conservation measures aimed at improving coastal fish stocks. 

Recently Mr Shaw announced his intention to create more nursery areas to aid recruitment and further restrictions on inshore netting.  The Marine Bill, due to be published next month will also include measures to establish Marine Conservation Zones.  The National Federation of Sea Anglers (NFSA) has long argued that a sea angling licence should only be acceptable once anglers saw tangible improvements in fish stocks.

Mr Salter said:

“Whilst I remain committed to the principle of a rod licence for all forms of recreational fishing I congratulate Jonathan Shaw on having the good sense to listen to what sea angling organisations have been saying.  Let’s first get in place the conservation measures necessary to stop the over exploitation by the commercial sector and give Britain’s sea anglers a chance of a decent days sport before we ask them to pay to catch fish that might not be there.”

Richard Ferre, Chairman of the National Federation of Sea Anglers, welcomed the announcement, and said:

"For some time now the NFSA has been working hard to honestly represent to Government and the Minister the views of its members on the question of licenses for sea anglers. The minister is to be congratulated for listening to these views of Sea Anglers from up and down the country. Any possible benefits to be gained from an unpopular licensing scheme on a sport already badly hit by declining fish stocks would have been far outweighed by the deterrent effect it would have had on the thousands of families who try sea angling on holiday at our seaside resorts, bringing joy to children and benefit to local businesses in the process. We are particularly pleased that such a decision will not stop the efforts to improve the future of a sport enjoyed by 1 million people in England and Wales each year spending £640 million in the process. Well done Mr Shaw."

ENDS

Notes to editors:   

1.      Text of Martin Salter MP’s question to Jonathan Shaw and the Minister’s answer:

18 Mar 2008 : Column 944W

Angling: Licensing

Martin Salter: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he plans to proceed with the introduction of a sea angling licence; and if he will make a statement. [194586]

Jonathan Shaw: I met sea angling representatives at the Angling summit on 18 February where a number of concerns were raised with me regarding the introduction of a chargeable licence for sea angling. I have also discussed the issue direct with anglers around the coast, as have my officials. In view of the concerns expressed, including the extent to which sea anglers expected to see benefits from the charge, I have decided not to proceed with enabling powers in the Marine Bill to introduce a sea angling licence.

I will, none the less, continue with a package of other measures that aim to provide benefits for anglers, including a review of nursery areas for the protection of bass stocks and of inshore netting, and a pilot study on area-based restrictions to support sea angling. I have also recently announced measures to increase protection of tope, a key species for anglers.

I will reconsider the arguments for introducing a recreational sea angling licence at some stage in the future in the light of progress on the aforementioned measures.


http://pubs1.tso.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmhansrd/cm080318/text/80318w0004.htm#08031877000048

2.      Extract from Labour’s Charter for Angling

“Labour agrees that whilst a sea angling rod licence could deliver valuable income the current organisational arrangements are not in place which might make a licence acceptable to recreational sea anglers.  We acknowledge the arguments put forward by the National Federation of Sea Anglers ... 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 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 and increased protection for fish stocks from over exploitation.

However, there is a balance that needs to be struck since measures necessary to improve fish stocks for recreational sea angling would also require enforcement. Any enforcement action would require a revenue stream, some of which could come from a sea rod licence.”

3.      From Mr Salter’s speech (19.04.07) on the Marine Environment

I do not think that the recreational sea angling sector is wholly hostile to the idea of a rod licence. However, given the problems that sea anglers have faced for a long time, which have been caused by other sectors and our collective failure to manage this precious marine resource, they are entitled to see some improvements first. Personally, I am content for the Marine Bill to go ahead with the power to create a sea rod licence. However, we should be very clear about the pre-conditions and circumstances under which such a licence would be introduced.


Sea anglers have to recognise that the freshwater sector is better able to make demands of the Government by virtue of paying for a licence and having an automatic involvement in stakeholder groups and other representative bodies. Many sea anglers realise that “no pay, no say” is, in part, a problem for the recreational sector.

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BASS Press Release


BASS Welcomes ‘No Licence’ Decision


Commenting upon yesterday’s statement by Jonathan Shaw MP, the Fisheries Minister, that proposals to introduce a sea angling licence are to be dropped, BASS spokesman John Leballeur said “At last this administration is beginning to show some sense when talking about Recreational Sea Angling”.

At the recent ‘Angling Summit’ held in the Palace of Westminster, the minister had been told by BASS and other sea angling organisations in the most forceful terms possible that the current proposal for a sea angling licence was unacceptable to the UK’s Recreational Sea Anglers (RSA).  This was especially so in the light of his decision not to increase the bass minimum landing size (MLS).

The Minister's failure to take this decision to protect juvenile bass meant that he had lost the trust of the UK’s recreational sea anglers; the overwhelming majority of whom did not believe he was prepared to deliver any benefits to them, and yet were still expected to pay for a licence.  For decades the sea anglers' voice has been ignored whilst at the same time there has been relentless decline in both the number and size of fish available to RSA.

Does this announcement mean that the minister has begun to listen to recreational sea anglers? We hope so. We also hope that he will continue to act upon what he has been hearing, and to deliver on his promise to work with BASS and other organisations to improve the UK’s recreational bass fisheries by implementing those other conservation measures contained within the Bass Management Plan.

However, we will still need to see some positive benefits, in terms of improved fish stocks, before we can be confident that the tide really has turned.

-End-

Bass Anglers Sportfishing Society (BASS)

www.ukbass.com

Conserving the UK’s Greatest Sportfish

Notes for Editors

-         BASS is the society which promotes the interests of its members and bass anglers throughout the United Kingdom, seeking to influence Government policy to manage the UK’s valuable Recreational Bass Fishery to provide more and bigger fish.

-         The Bass Management Plan is available at http://ukbass.com/bassmanagementplan/index.html

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NFSA Press Release

Government abandons sea angling licences

The government today abandoned its current plans to impose fishing licences on a million sea anglers in Britain.

The move follows several years of campaigning by the National Federation of Sea Anglers (NFSA) to convince successive fisheries ministers that because fishstocks were so seriously depleted by commercial overfishing, the few fish left for anglers were not worth buying licence to catch.

A provision enabling licences to be imposed has been withdrawn from the government’s big new Marine Bill due to be published shortly. The news came in a written parliamentary answer to Martin Salter (Labour, Reading West) from the fisheries minister, Jonathan Shaw.

A survey of NFSA members showed that only eight per cent supported the idea.

The case was argued by the NFSA in its responses to government consultations, face-to-face with civil servants and last month directly with the minister at a "meet the anglers" session in Penzance, and at a meeting in Westminster.

Richard Ferré, chairman of the NFSA, said today: “The NFSA and anglers throughout the country have worked hard to honestly represent to the Minister their view that a licence would have been unfair, financially unviable and detrimental to the sport.

“The minister and his civil servants are to be congratulated for listening to and analysing our arguments and now for taking this decision.”

Mr. Salter who is the Labour spokesman for angling, said that he remained committed to the principle of a rod licence for all forms of recreational fishing but added: “Let’s first get in place the conservation measures necessary to stop the over exploitation by the commercial sector and give Britain’s sea anglers a chance of a decent days sport before we ask them to pay to catch fish that might not be there.”

Mr. Ferré said he believed it would herald much needed improved relations between the government and the million-strong recreational sea angling industry which was worth nearly £600 million a year in England and Wales alone and supported 19,000 jobs.

“Our aim is to expand the sport and sustain the thousands of businesses dependant on it.

“Many of those businesses would have been badly hurt by an unpopular licence scheme deterring thousands of families who go sea angling on holiday every year often introducing their children to a fascinating, close to nature, outdoor activity.”

Anglers were particularly pleased that the minister has clearly indicated his intention to continue with the action programme they have been lobbying for to improve sea angling which has been seriously affected by declining fishstocks.

“High on our priority list is the need for new minimum landing sizes to stop commercial fishermen and anglers alike taking fish before they have even spawned once and much improved netting restrictions around our shores.”


END

National Federation of Sea Anglers
Hamlyn House, Mardle Way, Buckfastleigh, Devon  TQ11 0NS
Chief Executive:  David Rowe
Tel: 01364 644 643   Fax 01364 644 486   e-mail: ho@nfsa.org.uk

Promoting and protecting the interests of sea anglers nationwide
www.nfsa.org.uk

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

EFTTA Press Release

EFTTA WELCOMES DECISION OVER CONTROVERSIAL UK SEA LICENCE SCHEME


The European Fishing Tackle Trade Association (EFTTA) has welcomed the decision by UK Fisheries Minister, Jonathan Shaw, to scrap proposals for a national sea angling licence.

But the organisation, which represents the interests of more than 200 angling businesses across Europe, warned against complacency in the continued fight to ensure a sustainable future for recreational angling.

EFTTA President, Gregg Holloway, said: “Everyone in the fishing tackle industry, EFTTA included, is delighted at the decision not to proceed with a licence scheme in the Marine Bill.

“But it is vital that we do not allow this to overshadow all the other important factors under discussion in the ongoing Recreational Sea Angling Strategy.

“The recreational sea angling trade in England and Wales contributes around £600m to the economy and can only be sustained with sensible debate, open consultation and by listening to the valued opinions of those whose livelihoods depend on it.

“Healthy fish habitats, with more and bigger fish are vital to the sport’s future and we have to ensure that the government makes policy decisions that do not jeopardise those goals.

“Decisions on minimum fish landing sizes in the commercial sector are just as important as the sea licence debate.”

A provision enabling licences to be imposed was withdrawn from the government’s new Marine Bill due to be published shortly.

The news came in a written parliamentary answer to MP Martin Salter from the fisheries minister, Jonathan Shaw.

Mr. Salter who is the Labour spokesman for angling, said that he remained committed to the principle of a rod licence for all forms of recreational fishing but added: “Let’s first get in place the conservation measures necessary to stop the over exploitation by the commercial sector and give Britain’s sea anglers the chance of a decent days sport before we ask them to pay to catch fish that might not be there.”

The news has been welcomed by several UK organisations who have been lobbying fiercely against a sea licence scheme. And it comes just months after the introduction of a licence scheme in Portugal had catastrophic effects on the Portuguese fishing tackle trade.

Leon Roskilly of the Sea Anglers Conservation network (SACN) said: “It is a relief to get the distraction of a sea angling licence off the agenda so that we can talk positively and with confidence about the delivery of benefits and a better future for Recreational Sea Angling in the UK”.

Richard Ferré, chairman of the National Federation of Sea Anglers, said: “The minister and his civil servants are to be congratulated for listening to and analysing our arguments and now for taking this decision.

“Many angling businesses would have been badly hurt by an unpopular licence scheme deterring thousands of families who go sea angling on holiday every year often introducing their children to a fascinating, nature loving, outdoor activity.”
Added EFTTA President Gregg Holloway: “The sea licence scheme in Portugal has slashed 60% off the revenues generated by the tackle trade in that country. Any EU country simply has to think very carefully before introducing sea licences.”
>>> Ends.

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