AnglingTrust The voice of Angling


AGM 2018 - 1 x550px

Report: Angling Trust & Fish Legal AGMs and Future Angling Conference

The Angling Trust & Fish Legal AGMs and the Future Angling Conference were held at The Lake at Barston, Solihull, on Saturday, November 17th, 2018.

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive, gave presentations on the work of the two organisations throughout the past 12 months. He said that the Angling Trust had represented anglers at scores of meetings across UK and Europe and had championed anglers’ rights on numerous issues including:

  • Bass bag limit
  • Salmon catch & release
  • Access to piers and lakes
  • Parking charges
  • Threat from canoeing
  • 3-rod licence and free junior licence

He also listed the challenges facing rivers and lakes but said our lobbying and campaigning had resulted in some significant successes including:

  • Angling Trust recommendations included in the Agriculture Bill and in Welsh government legislation
  • Action on abstraction and reservoirs
  • Tidal power proposals stalled
  • Proposals to end salmon netting
  • Promising new water company plans

On marine, Mr Lloyd said the Angling Trust had achieved recognition for sea anglers in the draft Fisheries Bill and was supporting proposals for a recreational bluefin tuna fishery.

On participation, Mr Lloyd said that between 2014-18, the Angling Trust had introduced over 100,000 people to fishing, run 1,800 events and trained hundreds of angling coaches.

Last year, the Angling Trust ran over 400 competitions attracting 10,000 entries, supported 29 national teams and organised the World Lure Angling Championships.

The Angling Trust has now recruited 500 volunteer bailiffs who undertook 11,000 patrols in the past 12 months involving 25,000-man hours, and the Angling Improvement Fund has re-invested £2m of rod licence funds in angling projects mostly run by clubs and fisheries, including 51 projects last year for protection against predation.

Our Fishery Management Advisors responded to over 900 calls and 1,000 anglers attended our 33 Regional Forums held all over the country.

At the Fish Legal AGM, Mr Lloyd reminded delegates that the organisation acted exclusively on behalf of its members and was currently involved in 60 legal cases.

A copy of Mr Lloyd's presentation can be found here

A debate on the National Angling Strategy for 2019-24 was hosted by Adam Brown (Substance) and Tom Sherwood (Environment Agency). The Environment Agency has commissioned Substance to run a national survey giving anglers the opportunity to help shape the future of fishing. Views expressed in the survey and from the debate will be used to inform the National Angling Strategy for 2019-24.

Here is a summary of audience responses from the debate:

Discussion (1) – What should the strategy be aiming to achieve?

What should the aims of the National Angling Strategy be?

“Raise the profile and benefits of angling.”

“Promote angling as a force for good, focussing on all the aspects that we have raised i.e. health and wellbeing, improving the environment etc.”

“Change the public perception of angling.”

“Make angling seen as a sport of total inclusivity i.e. a real need to focus on all groups, women, black, Asian and minority ethnic etc.”

“Promote angling as a route to enjoy the great outdoors.”

How do we get more anglers?

“Focus more events at game and angling shows.”

“Find a way to better interact with social media and target people outside of angling too.”

“To increase the number of women anglers we (the angling community) need to get into towns and cities, into schools, work with the Girl Guides. We need to have a strategy which helps focus on women’s participation.”

“There is a real need to get the clubs involved to help increase angler numbers. Need to work with them to get junior sections in place and coaches in place to help stop the decline in angling club membership.”

“Promote angling to show it is much more than just catching fish.”

“At grassroots level, we need to engage with schools. This is how we will hit the capacity of increasing numbers.”

“We need to make angling look ‘sexy’! Get more high-profile figures fishing and seen to be fishing. This will help promote the sport.”

“Education is the issue more than anything else.”

“We need to get teachers to buy into the value of angling and not just the school.”

“The angling community is very good at standing in a circle and looking in. It needs to do an 180o and look out.”

“We need to effectively rebrand fishing and make it trendy and reach all areas and talk outside fishing circles.”

“There is a fishery that 8.1 million people live within 1km of. It is the canal network. We need to use this much more. The Canal and Rivers Trust need more money to help promote this and help deliver the benefits of angling.”

“Targeted marketing is key. Different message for different groups.”

“We still need to focus on some of the barriers which prevent people from going fishing i.e. transport, information – examine each of those and then coming up with a strategy of how to overcome those.”

Demonstrating the benefits

“Angling really needs to concentrate heavily on demonstrating the health and wellbeing aspects.”

“Taking up fishing also helps teach some life skills to young people.”

“Reduction in crime.”

“The Angling Trust need to leverage the media to do a re-run of the ‘Passion for Angling TV series’ and also leverage Huw Miles to see if they could make another episode. As this one series demonstrate all the benefits of angling.”

Discussion (2) – How should it be run and delivered?

Who should oversee the strategy?

“Who should have overall responsibility of delivering the strategy should be countered about whether you have overall authority. If you don’t have the authority it is very difficult to deliver and help change things.”

“Anglers should be given a ballot asking ‘what do you want by way of authority and representation of your sport?’ Let’s ring-fence anglers’ money (rod licence income) and keep it away from the Government to help develop and promote angling. This should then be given to that authorative body.”

“There is a tool that is widely used in industry called the RACI (responsibility, accountability, consulted and informed) matrix. It is essential that this sort of matrix is key to delivering this strategy. You need to know who is responsible for it, who is accountable for it, who is consulted and who is informed? Without this you will be lost.”

“The overall responsibility should be a collective committee from all representative organisations.”

“There is too much Government interference, responsibility should lie with an independent body.”

“If it was just the Angling Trust involved in responsibility and delivery there would be a lot of people who would not agree with this.”

“Delivery of the strategy should involve the tackle trade.”

“We need the Angling Trust to deliver this strategy as they have set a base now and we do not need any more in the way of fragmentation in angling. The Angling Trust is now a well-known brand.”

“There seems to be little representation and consultation of day ticket and commercial waters and also the tackle trade.”

“Angling is the only sport which has Governmental support (through the EA) and it is very important that we retain this support.”

Sea Fishing

“If you pay for it you get it. If you don’t pay for it you should not expect it. Almost every other country around the world has licences for sea anglers and they get the benefits of what those licences bring.”

“There is less organisation in sea angling than in coarse angling. Coarse angling is more organised into clubs whereas sea angling seems to be more individual.”

“There are big challenges in developing sea angling. It is an open access resource. In terms of developing the strategy, how to develop sea angling and how that should be funded are essential.”

Discussion (3) – In 5 years…

What does success look like in five years time? Is it measurable?

“Look at the number of anglers and satisfaction rates.”

“Should look at how the general public views angling and the change in perception from year one to year five.”

“More anglers need to be supporting the Governing body.”

“In the next five years you have to actively work to lower the age profile of anglers.”

“Need to measure the success or otherwise of coaching schemes / participation events. Tracking of where people go after an introductory event.”

“There needs to be a progression through (participation pathway) from a taster session to becoming a competent angler.”

“We need to know how many people actually go fishing and not just those who buy a rod licence. As there is likely to be a large disparity between the figures.”

“Get the Angling Trust each year to report on membership figures. How many junior members, how many adult members and how many senior members. We will then know if we are doing our job properly.”

More Fish Workshop

This workshop focussed on the work we need to do to improve fish stocks and make sure clubs and fisheries can become more sustainable. James Champkin, Campaigns Officer for the Angling Trust, gave a presentation briefly summarising the campaigning work of the organisation, explaining some of the key focus areas:

Improving marine fish stocks: tackling commercial over-fishing, fighting political short-termism in fishery management decisions, and increasing recognition of the importance of recreational sea angling. Fisheries Bill gives an important opportunity to change existing approach.

Reducing agricultural pollution: raising this issue up the political agenda by taking Ministers on site visits and teaming up with WWF-UK and the Rivers Trust to lobby the Government.

Tackling over-abstraction: engaging with the water company water resource management planning (WRMP) process to push for investment in water storage infrastructure, allowing for reductions in unsustainable abstractions.

Campaigning to conserve salmon stocks: major developments around reducing unsustainable commercial netting of salmon, which is expected to end in 2019.

Helping fisheries deal with predation: lobbying to make it easier for fishery managers to control cormorants and providing funding for otter fencing on stillwater fisheries.

Main messages:

  • We have a very small campaigns team with a limited capacity, but we are taking a comprehensive approach to tackling all the serious issues that affect both marine and freshwater fish stocks.
  • Healthy freshwater ecosystems can withstand a natural level of predation, and we are more likely to win the argument for that by combining our efforts with big-hitters such as WWF, RSPB and The Rivers Trust rather than calling for controversial predator control.

Key Concerns Raised by Audience:

Predation by seals – what is the Angling Trust doing? The Angling Trust deals with instances of predation by seals inland on a case by case basis. Earlier this year a large seal made its way up the River Swale in Yorkshire and was resident in a weir for several weeks. The Angling Trust organised the trapping and removal of this animal in a giant net the cost of which was met by the Trust.

Fish theft and poaching – this problem seems to be getting worse in some areas of the country. The Angling Trust has nearly 500 trained volunteer bailiffs to help report issues such as these, and the Building Bridges project to help engage with Eastern European anglers. However, all anglers should report these issues to the police (if an emergency) and certainly to the Environment Agency hotline. The Angling Trust is campaigning for more government funding for the EA to investigate and prosecute offences.

Sea kelp harvesting is becoming an increasing issue in Scotland and Ireland, resulting in damage to coastal ecosystems. The Angling Trust may need to engage with this issue if it begins to occur in England, or if a Fish Legal member raises it as an issue affecting their fishing.

Development projects (residential, roads and other infrastructure) are currently occurring on a large scale across the country, with many potential impacts on fishing – what is the Angling Trust doing? The Trust has engaged with some larger development projects that were likely to have a serious impact on local fish stocks, but it doesn’t currently have the local staff base to engage with each of these individually. This is something the organisation is looking to grow its resources to do more of in the future.

Invasive species like signal crayfish are still a major issue – is the Angling Trust involved in finding a solution? A report on the effectiveness of trapping on stillwater fisheries was published by Cefas earlier this year, showing that eradication is possible with a combination of trapping and sterilisation – even on relatively large stillwaters. However, a huge amount of volunteer time is required. More research and funding are required to establish more practical methods, in addition to solutions for rivers and the Angling Trust is pressing for this.

Why don’t politicians take more notice of the huge economic value of recreational sea angling (RSA) in fishery management decisions? The Angling Trust continues to push the massive value of RSA, but we have struggled to get the angling trade (manufacturers and fishing tackle shops) to engage with angling politics. This is something that commercial fishing already enjoys and it would strengthen our argument immensely if we could get the trade to lobby the Government alongside us. In many other countries with more forward-thinking approaches to fishery management, which have RSA included as a stakeholder in fishery management (e.g. Australia, USA, New Zealand), the trade is closely involved in the organisations that lobby very strongly for the interests of recreational fishing. This is something that we need to continue to work towards in the UK, getting the trade to recognise that more fish equals more anglers equals more profit.

Where does the Angling Trust stand on restocking salmon from hatcheries to combat the decline in salmon stocks? We are largely driven by advice from fishery scientists, which suggests that restocking is only a very expensive, short-term solution. Restocking risks threatening the genetic integrity of the natural salmon stock and there are issues with removing viable spawners from the river. We believe that by getting the environment right and dealing with excess predation, salmon stocks will regulate themselves at healthy levels. However, stocking might be justified in situations where stocks fall to very low levels.

More Fishing Workshop

The workshop was attended by 32 people and delivered in two sessions involving four groups. Attendees present represented the angling trade, clubs and fisheries, angling organisations and the angling coaching community.

The focus was on increasing angling participation in two target areas, across all disciplines:

  • Recruiting and retaining more junior anglers
  • Recruiting and re engaging more adult anglers

The debate in each session revolved around four questions:

  • Why is participation declining?
  • What needs to change for angling participation to grow?
  • What more can the Angling Trust and partners do to increase participation?
  • What more can the general angling community do to increase participation?

The group sessions lasted 25 minutes each and the key suggestions and ideas to address the questions collated below:


Why is participation declining?

Angling is not seen as “cool”

Lack of knowledge or awareness of opportunities

Society has changed, more single parents

Single parents have no time or money

Too many demands on children’s time

Juniors have limited access to waters and fishing

What needs to change for angling participation to grow?

The image of angling needs to be improved, be more relevant to young life styles

Need more and better information on angling that is relevant to juniors

Make access to fishing easier for juniors, park lakes, community or free waters

Provide and promote safe venues

Make angling more affordable for juniors

What more can the Angling Trust and partners do to increase participation?

Market angling to young people, make it more relevant to them

Make more use of angling celebrities to change attitudes to angling e.g., David Beckham, Anthony Joshua

Engage with mum’s net

Work with schools, scout groups, girl guides

Train and support more coaches

Support clubs with incentives to recruit more juniors and create junior sections

Reward clubs doing great engagement work

Support clubs with good practice guidance, case studies on successful junior clubs or recruitment projects

Develop fit for purpose, affordable starter kits

What more can the general angling community do to increase participation?

Clubs to provide flexible junior membership offers relevant to them

Clubs to offer non-angling membership to parents so they can go with their children

Promote the fun of angling better

EA to provide a free licence to 16th birthday once first licence is purchased, no annual renewals.


Why is participation declining?

Time is limited

Angling is not a priority for busy people

Lack of knowledge and awareness of opportunities

Changing work patterns

Cost is prohibitive

What needs to change for angling participation to grow?

The image of angling needs to change and be more relevant to today

Promotion of the health and wellbeing and wider benefits of angling must improve

Provide more and better information on how and where to fish

Easier, low cost access to angling, more community waters or free fishing

Make angling a priority

What more can the Angling Trust and partners do to increase participation?

Market the health and wellbeing benefits of angling much better to non-angling adults

Engage with stroke associations and age concern

Recruit more women and mums

Develop and promote short session fishing e.g. lure angling

Start a 12-month campaign to “take a mate” fishing with you – similar to TAFF

Develop a fit for purpose starter kit with the trade

Showcase successful clubs

What more can the general angling community do to increase participation?

Reduce the cost of fishing for family groups

The trade should work together with the AT to re recruit adults

Promote the benefits of angling better

Fishing licence reform – provide more incentives for adults returning to angling

Free 3-month licence for returning anglers

Buy one get one free

More freedom to take a beginner free on your fishing licence

Clubs to offer free or introductory rates to beginner anglers

Clubs to provide flexible membership offers for midweek, evenings etc.

Involve families in the wider environmental aspects of angling e.g. bank clearing, litter picking

Provide more social angling opportunities e.g. age specific informal competitions

Provide more social opportunities after angling events particularly for older participants, e.g. coffee and cake - other sports do this

AGM 2018 - 1 x550px

Contact: Angling Trust Eastwood House, 6 Rainbow Street, Leominster, Herefordshire HR6 8DQ
Tel: 0343 5077006 (For Membership enquiries select Option 1) |
Calls to our 0343 number are charged at the same rate as normal landline numbers.
Office hours are Mon - Thu 9.00-5.00 and Fri 4.30. Please leave a message if you call outside these hours or email us.
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