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RSA Strategy Consultation Launched

Dec 05,2007 SACN


Today DEFRA have finally launched the public consultation on the strategy for the development and management of Recreational Sea Angling in England.

The draft strategy has been put together by a wide range of marine stakeholder interest organisations, including anglers, commercial fishermen, Sea Fisheries Committees, marine scientists, environmental NGOs and DEFRA officials.

Now everybody has the opportunity to criticise and contribute to the draft proposals.

Undoubtedly there will be issues which sea anglers need to be wary of, and some will question the ability of the Government to deliver the benefits which Sea Anglers expect, particularly in a 'consensus' environment where all stakeholders will be seeking to protect their own interests foremost.

But there are other issues, such as the management of some species for recreational purpose, aiming to ensure access to more and bigger fish, and the 'Golden Mile' which anglers will need to enthusiastically back.

And maybe individuals and organisations will want to see some other things included.

It is important that anglers don't just concentrate on the negatives, but also support those things which they see of benefit, and which could usefully be included, otherwise there is a possibility that DEFRA will assume that there isn't sufficient level of support from the angling community for some of the benefits that we would all like to see included in the final strategy. 

It's important also to understand that the consultation, which ends on 31st March 2008, isn't simply a referendum.

As well giving support to some issues, and questioning the need for other proposals and perhaps introducing new ideas, the Government will particularly be looking for detailed arguments being put forward, supported by evidence that can be substantiated. 

Whatever your initial views on the strategy, SACN strongly urges that anglers and angling organisations should take some time studying the proposals, and respond to the consultation, in particular supporting the positive proposals.

For you can bet that others with different agendas will certainly be doing so.

As well as recieving written responses, the DEFRA team will be visiting various areas of the country to canvass as wide a selection of views as possible, so keep your ear to the ground for any such visits to your area, and try to make other local anglers aware.

DEFRA will also be pleased to hear of any opportunities to address large numbers of anglers, at angling events or meetings, so if your local club or division etc can assure a good attendance, please get in contact with DEFRA who may be able to arrange such a visit.

Once the consultation period closes, the responses will be examined and a final strategy (which you now have the opportunity of influencing) will be adopted by DEFRA for implementation.

And that final strategy will undoubtedly fundamentally shape the future of our Recreational Sea Fisheries for some considerable time to come.

The consultation documents can be accessed at:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/sea-angling/index.htm



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