NFSA press release

Fisheries managers are persuaded sea angling rivals commercial fishing

One of the 12 sea fisheries committees in England and Wales has formally broken a 100-year-old tradition of managing inshore waters only for commercial fishing. It will now try to meet the needs of present-day anglers as well as the commercial fishermen.

The Eastern Sea Fisheries Joint Committee has set up a recreational sea angling subcommittee, reflecting the growing value of the sport to coastal economies. Only one member voted against it.

It follows an 18-month campaign by local anglers, supported by the National Federation of Sea Anglers (NFSA) to persuade the committee to act for their prospering sector just as much as for commercial fishing.

It was led by Tom Pinborough and Steve Coppolo who were nominated by Defra last year to the committee which manages fisheries for six miles out from the coasts of north Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk and south Lincolnshire, and enforces protection legislation.

Matthew Mander, the committee’s chief fisheries officer, told the full committee that it was “highly likely there would be many more [recreational angling] issues to deal with in the future.” The new subcommittee would ensure the interests of recreational and commercial fishing and the environment were explored “more fully” than in the past.

Sea angling was, he said, increasingly recognised by the government’s environment department (Defra) which is planning a strategy for it in the new Marine Bill. He believed the success of that strategy “will be dependent on how it is implemented at a local level.”

The new subcommittee will comprise five councillors from local authorities which fund the committee, Mr. Pinborough and Mr. Coppolo for angling, and two commercial fishing, and one environmental representative.

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