A NEW organisation has been formed by anglers concerned that the Angling Trust isn’t fit for tackling tough issues including otter and cormorant predation.
Called the AT Reform Group, it has been set up with the aim of being an internal pressure group in the Angling Trust which will push them to improve in areas where they are lacking.
It has already got the backing of many including Mail columnist Steve Collett, Barbel Society chairman Steve Pope, Catfish Conservation Group secretary Richard Clarke and spessy ace Tony King.
Founder Martyn Cattermole, a top pike guide, explained: “A number of concerned anglers have got together because we feel more should be done on issues like predation before river fishing is totally and completely ruined.
“Angling is under attack and people need to wise up to the threats.
“Our overall goal is to help build a more effective, better funded and successful Angling Trust, with a much larger individual membership base than the 12,000 currently.
“A broader membership will make the AT more representative than it is now as well as well as considerably better funded which is crucial if the AT is to resource the programmes angling needs, and also has enough staff ‘boots on the ground’ to deliver services effectively across the UK.”
Martyn added: “Although independent, the Trust does receive a lot of money from the Environment Agency so there is a feeling their officers have to tread a careful line in criticism, not biting the hand that feeds them.
“They clearly do a lot of good work, but we would like to push them to do better, acting as a pressure group within the organisation.
“One issue we have already protested about was the recent culling of the zander in the Midlands by the Canal and River Trust, and we will campaign for any future fish removed to be re-homed somewhere rather than destroyed.
“I have already had a constructive meeting with Trust chief executive Mark Lloyd and I’m sure we can work together in future. Our first official meeting with them is in June,” he added.
‘Many anglers don’t know about Angling Trust’
Angling Trust chief executive Mark Lloyd said: “I had a good discussion with Martyn who has some good ideas, and we agreed that one thing we fall down on is communicating with and reaching out to enough of the anglers in the country.
“Many don’t know of our existence or lack clarity about what we do, and the relatively small readership of angling journals these days doesn’t help get our message across.”
Mark continued: “We would very much like to encourage more individual members and this will also help to boost our income.
“With this in mind we have managed to find the money for a head of marketing, a post we are about to recruit to.
“We are always happy to engage and work with groups of our members and together help make the organisation even better than it is,” he concluded.
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