Following the Government’s reshuffle earlier this week the Angling Trust has welcomed the re-appointment of Richard Benyon as Fisheries Minister but reminded his boss Owen Paterson, the new Secretary of State for Environment, of his pledge to limit commercial over fishing in favour of recreational sea angling.
In 2005, during his time as shadow fisheries minister, Mr Paterson launched a Conservative Party policy document promising to take “full account of the needs of recreational sea fishing, limiting commercial activity if necessary to ensure that those needs are met”.
The Conservative Party said at the time that if it wins the General Election it will “create a stable and equitable framework for the fishing and allied industries, including the recreational fishing sector and tourism”.
Chairman of the Angling Trust, Mike Heylin, said:
“The Angling Trust will expect the new Environment Secretary to keep his pre-election promises and give our hard pressed recreational sector a better deal with more of the inshore fishery managed sustainably in the interests of both the environment and responsible sea anglers. Our estuaries and nursery areas in particular need better protection and our bass and other fish stocks must be allowed to breed successfully before being targeted for harvesting. We are proud of our good relations with politicians of all parties but fully intend to hold those in power to account.”
The Angling Trust was also pleased to learn that Richard Benyon would be staying at Defra in his role as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Natural Environment and Fisheries.
The Trust’s National campaign Coordinator Martin Salter said:
“At a critical time for our sport with big issues like cormorant predation, marine conservation zones, the Severn Barrage and invasive species on the top of our agenda the last thing angling needed was a new fisheries minister who probably wouldn’t have known cod from codswallop.
Richard Benyon’s understanding of angling, fisheries and rural affairs means he was the best placed minister to continue in his role and we look forward to working even more closely with him in future to ensure that the interests of anglers are represented at the highest level.”
This view was echoed by the UK tackle trade. Naidre Werner, Angling Trades Association Chair added:
“I’m sure that members of the angling trade will be delighted to hear that Mr Benyon remains in post. Mr Benyon has been a strong supporter of angling participation initiatives, particularly National Fishing Month, and to be able to continue working with someone who understands the importance of recreational fishing and its value to the economy will only benefit everyone involved.”