During April 2000, the Environment Agency will be distributing free copies of their new fisheries magazine REEL life to everyone who bought a freshwater rod licence last year. Sadly we have no such relationship with any legislative body for sea angling, so you might wonder where the interest lies.

Tucked away on page 11 is a short quote by Kate Hoey, Minister of Sport entitled, ‘Minister’s pledge’.

The Government has made clear its determination to help angling. I am happy to re-affirm my strong support for this hugely popular sport and have met the angling organisations to discuss how best I can help them. I very much hope that all the bodies can continue to work together, with Government, for the benefit of the sport. I am committed to working closely with the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions and MAFF to ensure that angling is given the true recognition and support it deserves.

I believe that the time is long past when we should be testing out the real value of this Pledge, and we should not be dissuaded by the Government’s attempts to evade the issue by insisting that all angling bodies speak through a single organisation – they haven’t yet tried to merge Lawn Tennis and Table Tennis, nor Hockey and Ice Hockey. The three disciplines of angling play on different pitches, with different rules, and different balls – so they should each have their own access to government.