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Fishing gets a vote of confidence at party conferences

05.10.17

Martin Salter at the Tory party conference x550px
Campaigns Chief Martin Salter speaking at the Tory Conference in Manchester

As the party conference season comes to a close, anglers can rest assured that their sport has been endorsed by politicians from right across the political spectrum thanks to strong lobbying by the Angling Trust.

Working in partnership with the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), the Trust visited the Liberal Democrat, Labour and Conservative conferences in recent weeks to speak about the importance of angling at a series of specially organised Rural Receptions attended by ministers and shadow ministers.

At the Lib Dem gathering in Bournemouth, Alistair Carmichael MP applauded the work of both BASC and the Angling Trust saying:

“We understand that the rural environment isn’t something that just happens. It is there because of farmers, gamekeepers and those involved in the fishing industry. Your interests will always have a willing audience with the Liberal Democrats.”

For Labour, who met this year in Brighton, Shadow Environment Secretary Sue Hayman, the MP for Workington in Cumbria, told guests at the reception that she wants to work with both organisations on policy and to promote good practice.

“I understand the importance of the work done by both BASC and the Angling Trust and I am keen to work closely with both organisations to develop policy. There is an awful lot of work to do, but there are great opportunities to promote both activities.”

Conservative Water Minister Therese Coffey was the guest speaker at the Tory Conference in Manchester alongside Angling Trust Campaign Chief Martin Salter and BASC chairman Peter Glenser. She committed the government to working with anglers in developing new Fisheries Legislation as the UK exits the EU and acknowledged concerns about low flows and pollution in some rivers.  

In his speech, Martin Salter said:

“All is not well out there as only a miserable 16% of waterbodies have achieved the Good Ecological Status required by EU law. This figure is declining with poor agricultural practices responsible for widespread diffuse pollution with slurry, soil, pesticides and fertilisers.

"Half our rivers are either fully or over abstracted yet we have no plans as yet to build new reservoirs to store the winter surpluses and avoid environmental damage in the drier months.

"Our Marine fish stocks continue to be over fished and we give very little protection to vital nursery habitats such as estuaries and inshore reef systems. All these problems can be fixed and we await your long promised 25 year Environment Plan to see how we can work with you to tackle them.”

Angling Trust Chief Executive Mark Lloyd, who spoke at the Labour conference, said:

“We had a good reception from all three main parties and it was a great opportunity to register some of our concerns. However, we are pleased that important country sports such as fishing and shooting, which make huge contributions to the local economy, look safe and secure irrespective of who is in power at Westminster.”

Contact: Angling Trust Eastwood House, 6 Rainbow Street, Leominster, Herefordshire HR6 8DQ
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