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Myopic, unrepresentative and a missed opportunity: Angling Trust slams 'Renaissance of the East Anglian Fisheries' report

13.11.19

Sea angling beach x550

The Angling Trust has slammed the findings of the report from Renaissance of the East Anglian Fisheries (REAF) amid fears it is setting out to drive a wedge between commercial fishing and recreational sea angling interests in the region.

Stuart Singleton-White, Head of Campaigns at the Angling Trust said: “Whilst claiming it wishes to 'reduce tensions between angling and commercial fishing', this partisan report will only inflame tensions between sea anglers and local fishermen.”

The REAF report claims that it is a “community-led long-term strategy for fisheries in the region”, but in fact is an unrepresentative political lobbying effort focused only on the narrow interests of commercial fisherman which fails to recognise the major opportunity to increase social and economic benefits in coastal communities in East Anglia by developing and promoting sea angling.

The report states: “While it is not known how many people participate in sea angling in East Anglia, the number is thought to be several thousand.” The Governments report 'Sea Angling 2012' estimated that there are 884,000 sea anglers in England. This suggests that there are in the order of 48,000 sea anglers living in Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex and once we include visiting sea anglers, the number will be even higher.

The Blue Marine Foundation report 'Defining the Economic and Environmental Values of Sea Bass' found that in Sussex, where there were 40,014 sea anglers, sea angling contributed £94.9 million to the local economy and supported 1,067 full time equivalent jobs. This report also found that in the Sussex sea bass fishery, the economic output generated by sea angling from one tonne of sea bass was 40 to 75 times higher than that from commercial bass fishing and the amount of employment generated by sea angling was 39 to 75 times more employment thafrom commercial bass fishing.

In contrast, the REAF report finds that the first landed value of fish into East Anglia is just £9.4m.

Commenting on the report, Stuart Singleton-White said: “Leaving the European Union could present a major opportunity to restore and enhance our coastal marine environment, to rebuild fish stocks to genuinely sustainable levels based upon good scientific evidence, to provide proper protection for important marine habitats and ecosystems, and to generate economic growth bringing much needed income and jobs to coastal communities.

"To seize this opportunity, an enlightened approach would see inshore fishermen and the recreational sea angling community coming together. This report does the opposite.

“The REAF team has completely failed to consider the social and economic potential of sea angling in East Anglia and has instead made some poorly informed and inappropriate proposals for restricting sea angling in East Anglia. Even more astonishing is that the REAF team does not include any sea angling expertise and that it did not occur to the REAF team to consult with the Angling Trust, England’s representative body for sea angling.”

The Angling Trust will be asking sponsors of REAF to ask the REAF team why they have so far failed to deal with the potential of sea angling in an appropriate manner and how they intend to remedy the situation.

Read the Angling Trusts full statement in response to the REAF report

The REAF report can be found here

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