Sea anglers in England are to be asked what fish they catch and what they return in the biggest ever survey of the sport in England.
The survey, Sea Angling 2012, aims to find out how many people enjoy the sport, how much fish they catch, what is returned alive, and how important the sport is to the country’s economy.
UK Fisheries Minister, Richard Benyon, said:
“I want sea angling to have a bright future, but to achieve this we must understand what sea anglers are catching, what is being returned alive, and the economic and social benefits the sport provides.
“This is a chance for sea anglers to make sure their interests are taken into account when policies to improve and conserve fish stocks around our coast are developed”
Sea Angling 2012 will be run with the help of a steering group including sea anglers and sector representatives. Its first meeting was on July 6 at Defra in London.
European legislation requires EU Member States to collect and report data on recreational catches of certain species - including bass, cod and sharks - where it is needed to give a clearer picture of how fishing activities are affecting the stocks.
If Sea Angling 2012 and similar surveys in Europe highlight circumstances where anglers should play an important role in conserving vulnerable or overexploited stocks, Defra would seek to agree voluntary measures to avoid having controls imposed from Brussels.
The data obtained in Sea Angling 2012 will allow the importance and needs of recreational sea angling to be more effectively represented in future discussions on marine management at local, national and EU level.
For more information go to www.seaangling2012.org.uk/
Sea Angling 2012 will be carried out by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), the Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (Cefas), and the new local Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCAs).
Sea Angling 2012 will give sea anglers input as the new IFCAs develop their policies for managing sustainable forms of all types of fishing within six nautical miles of the coast.