Angling & Fisheries Summit: 25 January 2011
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Defra has asked the Angling Trust to comment on a recent draft proposal to collect data on catches from recreational sea anglers. Defra is required to collect this data to conform to EU requirements under the EU Control Regulations and the EU Data Collection Framework - parts of the Common Fisheries Policy. In order to get credible data, Defra will need the co-operation of anglers in providing information.
During the recent Angling Summit on January 25th with the Fisheries Minister and Defra officials, the Angling Trust raised concerns with Defra that the data collected could be used to restrict and regulate recreational sea angling activity and that any data collection proposals will now be inexorably linked to Article 55 of the EU Control Regulations.
We also highlighted the historic failure of the department to recognise Recreational Sea Angling (RSA) and the legitimate concerns that sea anglers have over contributing data that could then be used against them.
We have therefore asked the Minister to provide a statement clarifying the intentions of the data collection proposals and detailing how any data collected from recreational sea anglers would be used.
We have stressed to Defra that there is no incentive for anglers to provide data unless:
1. One of the objectives of any data collection project is to improve and develop recreational sea angling;
2. Where the data collected shows that recreational sea angling exploitation derives a better return for the UK than commercial exploitation steps will be taken to integrate the requirements of recreational sea angling into fisheries management measures and
3. All data collected is made freely available in its raw form to ensure accountability and transparency and to give anglers confidence in the process.
We are awaiting the content of the Ministerial statement before making any further comment on the proposals.