New sea angling chief: "Regulators could sacrifice us"

An outspoken critic of apparent bias against recreational sea angling in the management of English sea fisheries has been elected chairman of the marine committee of the new Angling Trust, and to the trust’s board of directors.

Stuart McPherson has warned that angling could become a “sacrificial lamb” under the new Marine Bill expected to become law next year.

The ethos of the new regulatory inshore fisheries and conservation authorities (IFCAs) replacing the present sea fisheries committees under the new bill, would be to prove that they were efficient.

“They will have inspection targets to meet and it could be easier for them to check what anglers in boats or on the beaches are catching, than to prove that a single trawler is fishing in a prohibited area,” he said.

“If that is the case they could very easily reach most of their targets and tick all the boxes required of them.  Recreational sea anglers might then become the sacrificial lamb to justify their existence.”

He said a million recreational sea anglers in Britain reeled in with their rods and lines, only a tiny fraction of the fish landed by 12,000 commercial fishermen with their powerful trawlers and many hundreds of miles of gill nets.

Mr. McPherson succeeds Richard Ferré who stood down as planned after three years as chairman of the National Federation of Sea Anglers (NFSA) which merged earlier this year with five other angling bodies to form the Angling Trust.

“Richard’s outstanding stewardship enabled sea angling to make great progress and I intend to consolidate and expand on his fine achievements,” Mr. McPherson said.

The marine committee, he said, would be a team which decided policy by communicating with the membership then got to work in earnest to achieve its objectives.

“We have the nucleus of that team,” he said, “though it may need to be reduced in numbers and expanded geographically so that members are better distributed and represent recreational sea anglers in every corner of England.”

There had always been threats to recreational sea angling and there probably always would be “but now is the opportunity to counter them as part of a strong Angling Trust promoting all disciplines of angling,.”

Mr. McPherson is a retired senior police officer with more than 40 years management experience in the police service in Yorkshire, and afterwards with a private company.

Mr. McPherson was largely responsible for resurrecting the Yorkshire division of the old NFSA three years ago. He is a member of the North Eastern sea fisheries committee, represents sea angling on the Angling Development Board and is actively involved in its programme to form some 40 county angling action groups throughout the country.

He was born in Scotland but has spent most of his life in Yorkshire and lives at Horbury near Wakefield.