The Marine Committee of the Angling Trust meeting in June agreed that they would only represent recreational sea anglers. The meeting confirmed that the EAA definition of Recreational Sea Angling formulated in 2004 should be their criteria:
“Recreational sea angling is the activity of catching or attempting to catch fish, principally by rod and line, pole or hand-held line for non-commercial purposes; recreational anglers do not sell the fish they catch.”
Whilst it was agreed that angling can be both commercial and non-commercial, recreational sea angling can only be non-commercial, as recreational sea anglers do not sell, barter or trade their catch. Recreational sea anglers may return or retain their catch, providing it is above legal minimum size, and consume it within the family. It was discussed that recreational sea angling is pursued for many purposes and a multitude of highly diverse motivations. These include challenge, sport, recreation, achievement, relaxation, etc.
To help clarify their its position, the Marine Committee explained that if a boat sets out and any part of the catch from that trip is sold, then it is a commercial trip and not recreational sea angling. It was agreed that a charter boat derives its income from offering a service to take anglers out to catch fish for an agreed fee and that the income for a trip does not depend upon the amount of fish caught that trip. There is no problem with commercial fishermen using their boats for recreational sea angling, providing they comply with the points outlined above.
John Brooks, the Cornish Regional Representative, said “This has been a thorny problem for some time, and no doubt there will be some sea anglers who are unhappy with our decision. However, with the advent of proposed regulations such as Article 47, it is imperative that the Angling Trust Marine Committee decides precisely who they represent, and that Government and other marine stakeholders are aware of this when we are in discussions and negotiations.” He continued, “We also hope that it will help clubs, competition organisers and fish recorders decide which fish they can accept and which they cannot for competitions and specimen fish awards.”