Following strong lobbying from the Angling Trust, sea angling groups, and Parliamentary angling spokesman Martin Salter MP, Labour’s Fisheries Minister Huw Irranca-Davies has made clear the Government’s opposition to any attempt to use the EU Article 47 Directive to impose quota restrictions on catches made by recreational sea anglers.

In a strongly worded letter to Martin Salter, Huw Irranca-Davies said:-

“I am certainly aware of and can understand the strong concern among the sea angling community about the proposal to regulate recreational fishing activity. I was able to hear these concerns first hand at the Angling Summit which you chaired in the House in January and in the correspondence I have received on the issue from a range of sea anglers.”

He continued:-

“We will be opposing the Article 47 proposals in their current form. I do not believe that the Commission has made the case to date to support its proposals and we will continue to challenge and seek further clarification from the Commission and amendments to the proposals.”

Martin Salter stated:-

“I wrote to the Fisheries Minister last month inviting him to clarify the British Government’s position in order to allay the fears about sea angling quotas which were caused by some of the mixed messages coming out of Brussels. I’m delighted he has taken such a robust line and came down on the side of sea anglers. This is excellent news and Huw Irranca-Davies is to be congratulated for lisening and acting in the interests of anglers”.

Leon Roskilly, a recreational sea angling campaigner, said:-

“I’m immensely reassured that the UK Government is backing the country’s recreational sea anglers on the issue of Article 47, including the many businesses and coastal communities that rely upon visiting sea anglers for their livelihoods. The Minister’s stated position on Article 47 reflects the effort put in by the Angling Trust, clubs and individual anglers to alert DEFRA to the damage that these proposals could do to a sector that is incredibly important to so many, and which is widely regarded as having minimal impact on fish-stocks.”

He added:-

“That the Government is prepared to listen to our concerns, at a time when anglers are reeling from mounting threats to our passion, gives every angler hope for the future. We look forward to a continued and robust defence of the rights and freedoms enjoyed by the nation’s anglers, against all unnecessary bureaucratic restrictions.”