The merger of six angling and conservation bodies creating the Angling Trust, the new voice of angling, was completed to plan on Monday, January 5 2009.
"It is an organisation angling has needed for many years," said Stephen Marsh-Smith, the first chairman of the Trust. "It represents more than a million regular coarse, game and sea anglers in England. Angling contributes £3.5 billion to the economy and supports 37,000 jobs."
Embodying all the assets and staff of the legacy organisations, the trust will be publicly launched at 10 am next Wednesday, January 14 at the Fishmongers’ Hall, London Bridge.
Among the guests will be Martin Salter MP, the government’s spokesman for angling and shooting.
Dr. Marsh-Smith said nearly 2,500 individual anglers and clubs had already signed-up to the trust which would "run a forthright campaign to conserve marine and freshwater fisheries, promote and protect all recreational angling against commercial overfishing, habitat destruction, poaching and disease.
"We also plan to develop coaching and education for new and experienced anglers, increase participation in national and international competitions and tackle the growing problem of the predators which attack our fisheries.
"It is an ambitious programme but we believe anglers will support us and we are encouraged by the supportive messages we have already received," Dr. Marsh-Smith added.
Individual membership is £20 a year which includes public liability insurance, newsletters and magazines. Members will be enrolled in Fish for Free (www.fishforfree.net) an innovative loyalty programme which generates credits for fishing equipment, permits and the freshwater rod licence. Clubs will be able to join Fish Legal which provides advice and takes action against polluters.
Mark Lloyd, chief executive of the Angling Trust said: "Now that we have a single body for all anglers with a comprehensive benefits, we look forward to their support and to working for and with them. We will only be able to do that if we have the mandate and the resources to do so."
The Angling Trust’s web site www.anglingtrust.net is now live and will be developed further over the next few weeks. Anglers can sign up on-line, by telephone or by post.