THE growing influence of the Green Party as reflected in their recent gains in the English local council and European Parliamentary elections has heightened concerns about their attitude to angling.
The Green Party increased their share of the European vote to 12.1 per cent, an increase of 4.2 per cent, and their number of seats to seven.
That made the Greens the fourth biggest UK party in Europe, ahead of the Conservatives in fifth.
At local level in England, in early May, the Green Party leapt from 71 councillors to 265.
The Green Party, leaders in the push for a better global environment, is vehemently opposed to bloodsports and is very keen to promote animal welfare.
Although angling isn’t specifically mentioned in this context, anglers fear fishing could be their hit list.
The Greens have attracted more and more anglers with their strident approach to environmental matters.
Life-long angler and Angler’s Mail reader Ron Brooke (main picture) said: “Politics and angling should be a contradiction in terms.
“But after watching the latest EU election news I felt we anglers should all be at least a little concerned at the resulting ‘green wave’.
“The Green Party made some gains in this country and major gains across the Continent, with young people in particular voting for change.
“On the face of it, we shouldn’t have to worry. Anglers are proud of being some of the greatest protectors of the aquatic environment. And most of us strive to be totally in harmony with nature and are always trying to up our image as environmentalists.
“Although I’m not saying all ‘Greens’ are anti-angling, the UK Green Party certainly is opposed to all bloodsports, and some put angling in that category.
“In normal times I would have laughed at the thought of a party like the Greens having any sort of effect on the political scene.
“But with all the ‘Brexit’ uncertainty and many voters totally fed-up, or very disappointed and prepared to take revenge on the Major Parties, I for one won’t be taking my eye off them and the danger they represent.
Green Party contacted by Angling Trust
Martin Salter (pictured above), policy lead at the Angling Trust, commented: “The Angling Trust seeks assurances from all the main political parties at Westminster ahead of each general election and we’ve never had a response from the Green Party.
“Their policies do not specifically mention angling but some interpretations of their animal welfare policies could prove problematic if taken to extremes.
“We will continue to keep a close eye on any specific threats to angling as the parties develop their manifestos.”
At the time of this article being published, the Green Party had not responded to a request from Angler’s Mail for comment.
But we were able to clarify a few matters they have published themselves.
Green Party policies in black & white
The Green Party has several policies which could impact on recreational fishing. These are:
AR424 The Green Party is fundamentally opposed to all blood-sports. We oppose the killing of, or infliction of pain or suffering upon, animals in the name of sport or leisure, and will work to end all such practices.
AR410 The Green Party will work for an end to overfishing, practices harming the marine ecosystem and avoidable by-catches. We shall prohibit intensive fish farming and restrict the use of fishmeal for animal feed. We shall extend the Animal Welfare Act to cover all fishing activities.
It also has more specific angling proposals:
MC413 With regard to recreational fishing, the Green Party will seek to end the practice known as ‘live baiting’ (where live fish are used as bait for other fish) as soon as possible. Barbed hooks and double and triple hooks will also be banned, because of the damage and distress caused to fish by their use.
MC414 The Green Party notes the (often fatal) injury caused to other wildlife by discarding lead shot/weights and will make the use of any lead in angling illegal.
MC415 Discarded fishing tackle presents a risk to marine wildlife and is costly to clean it up. We will encourage anglers to use best practice with regard to the disposal of tackles, and will introduce fines for those breaching best standards. An accreditation scheme for angling clubs will be introduced to bring all clubs up to best practice.
MC416 A National Code of Conduct for anglers will be drawn up after discussion with interested parties (including angling clubs and associations, environmentalists and the Environmental Agency) that can be displayed on angling licenses and also prominently displayed in other appropriate places, including accredited angling clubs.
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