SATURDAYS see the good people at The Angling Trust, the single organisation to represent all game, coarse and sea anglers and angling in this country, take over our blog.
Angling Trust chief executive, Mark Lloyd brings you this week’s blog.
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PROTECTING FISHINGS FUTURE
THIS week I’ve been working on our business plan for next year, which has to be approved by the Board in December. It’s a big job nowadays.
We have 40 staff working for the Angling Trust and Fish Legal and a combined turnover of more than £2 million a year. This may sound like a lot of money, but it’s actually less than £1 for every angler in the country and we need more than that if we are to tackle all the problems that face our sport properly and professionally. It’s encouraging that our membership income has increased in all categories in 2012. When most of the rest of the economy was clenching tighter, more and more anglers were signing up to support the one organisation that represents their interests at a national level.
We hope to continue this growth in 2013, but if we are to do so we’ll need more anglers who are sitting on the fence to jump off it and become a member of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal.
2012 feels like the year when the organisation stopped being young and new, and started to become more mature and experienced. I have stopped worrying about whether the fledgling will survive (at least not every day!) and instead can concern myself with a longer term vision for how the Angling Trust, and its sister Fish Legal, will take off and soar.
As part of this growing maturity, we got married to the Angling Development Board in April, and took on board in the process all the ADB’s staff and projects. After a series of mergers, which have now seen more than 10 organisations disappear since 2009 to create a single national representative body for all anglers and angling.
The angling industry, much like the economy, needs growth to remain vibrant and healthy. We need to create a real buzz about fishing and how positive it can be for individuals and for communities. For most people reading this blog, fishing is what we do, and we do it whenever we can between work and family commitments because we’re mad about it. However, for many other people, angling is just one of a long list of possible activities that they might do. Getting them to choose to go fishing requires a bit of a push. They need to see media articles and programmes about fishing; to be able to find better information and advice about how and where to go; and to find healthy fish stocks and a welcoming environment when they get to where they are going.
We’re currently putting together proposals for more rod licence-funded projects to improve fish stocks and fishing for everyone and waiting for the results of our massive bid for funding to Sport England for the next four years of our angling participation work.
There are so many issues that we need to work on to protect and improve fish stocks and fishing on your behalf, for example: access to waters, commercial over-fishing, dredging, pollution, hydropower, poaching, fish theft, predation, over-abstraction, illegal canoeing, anti-angling campaigns, criticism from wildlife groups, invasive species and fish disease. Much of the work of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal involves responding to consultations, taking legal action against those who damage members’ waters, writing letters to statutory agencies and briefing Ministers and officials so that they are aware of anglers’ interests when they make decisions. The combination of the Angling Trust’s bark and Fish Legal’s bite is becoming increasingly powerful in deterring polluters and also in getting regulators to do their job properly and law-makers to respect anglers’ rights.
It’s clear to me that if we are to win major battles, we will need to present powerful evidence, demonstrate clear support from a large constituency and use the media professionally. All this work costs money if it is to be done properly.
We have achieved a great deal in the past four years to make angling better. We have secured real political influence that dwarfs anything that the organisations that went before the Angling Trust ever achieved. But we will need the growing support from the angling community to grow faster if we are to win the war of transforming fish stocks and fishing for the better through a series of hard-won battles.
If you’re not a member, sign up today and get 10% off at 60 fisheries throughout the country, free public liability insurance and a wide range of discounts on fishing tackle and 15% off at Cotswold Outdoors.
If you are a member, please spread the word!
Take care if you’re fishing in the floods and thanks for checking in,
It only takes a few minutes to join online at www.anglingtrust.net or over the phone and costs less than 50p a week – please call 01568 620447 during office hours.
THE NEXT ANGLING TRUST BLOG WILL APPEAR ON SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1.
Here’s the list of all our new blogs and when they go live:
MONDAY: Carp crews on rotation – Korda, Fox, Nash and ACE.
TUESDAY: Steve Collett, Mail contributor and ultimate all-rounder.
WEDNESDAY: Angler’s Mail HQ – yes, us!
THURSDAY: Specialists from Pike Anglers Club, Korum, Pallatrax and Marukyu, on rotation.
FRIDAY: Carl & Alex, Angler’s Mail juniors and video diary makers.
SATURDAY: The Angling Trust – guys at the governing body.
SUNDAY: Colin Mitchell, veteran coarse angler and top journalist