The Angling Trades Association has welcomed the recent, successful House of Commons Debate on Bass, secured by Scott Mann (Conservative MP for North Cornwall and a sea angler). The motion stated: ‘that this House believes that the recent EU restrictions on recreational sea bass fishing are unfair and fail to address the real threat to the future viability of UK sea bass stocks; and calls on the Government to make representations within the Council of the EU on the reconsideration of the imposition of those restrictions’.

Now put your hand on your heart and ask yourself – did you really do your best as members of the angling trade, and as individual anglers, to add your voice and support the debate?

Historically, the factual value of recreational sea angling to the trade and the economy speak for themselves. The Drew Report into sea angling in 2003 stated that £538 million pounds was spent annually by 1.1 million sea anglers. The CEFAS report for Defra titled ‘Sea Angling 2012’ revealed that there were 884,000 recreational sea anglers in England, directly spending £1.23 billion per annum (£2.1 billion including induced and indirect impacts). After deductions for tax and imports, the direct annual expenditure was calculated to be £831 million. The VAT receipts received by the Treasury were £166 million p.a. and bass angling was calculated to be worth £200 million each year in England alone.

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In 2015 the Blue Marine Foundation published a report ‘Defining the Economic & Environmental Values of Sea Bass’, focusing on Sussex. It revealed that sea anglers fishing in the county spent £31.3 million on tackle, charter boats and hotels, creating 353 full-time jobs whilst retaining just 15 tonnes of bass. In the latest ‘Tackle Trade Survey 2015’ published by the Angling Trades Association, which reported on research into the value of the UK sales of tackle and associated equipment (rods, reels, line, bait, lures, clothing and accessories), sea angling So why are we in this position now? Naidre Werner, Chair of the Angling Trades Association (ATA), thinks the answer is simple:

‘We aren’t shouting loudly enough, either as businesses working within the sector or as individual anglers. We don’t need to get embroiled in a fight with the commercial fisherman – our immense value in numbers speaks out for itself. But what we do need to do is add our voices to the messages that the Angling Trust (AT), BASS and the European Anglers Alliance (EAA) are trying to get across.

[SOS Bass team]

Full press release is available from the ATA

Angling Trades Association  click here ATA