Sea anglers look set to keep membership in trust

A controversial move to expel sea anglers from the Angling Trust appears to be sinking in a quick sand of disapproval, disinterest and an underlay of common sense.

The proposal to sideline coastal rod men and women from the new governing body because they refused to join the rod licensing system came from the highly proclaimed angling broadcaster and columnist Keith Arthur — one of the so-called magnificent seven who rode in to save the Trust when it was said to be suffering financially while awaiting recognition from the Government and Sport England.

Arthur wrote: 'It is the case I believe the Trust should cast aside all concept of representing sea anglers who neither want nor respect representation and instead it should concentrate on those who are prepared to pay for their sport.'

The Trust's reaction to the Government's decision that it would be impossible to administer or police a sea fishing permit was positive and the chief executive Mark Lloyd supported the ruling.

So, how do sea anglers feel about getting kicked out of the Angling Trust if there were to become a change of mind or different personnel running the Trust?

Top beach angling administrator and fishing expert Keith Morley from Kessingland said: 'I inherited life membership of the Angling Trust from the old National Federation of Sea Anglers that was swallowed up by the reorganization. If there is a move to boot us out I would like to have a say in the matter and be given valid reasons.'

North Norfolk's league organiser Tony Thomas from Sheringham said he had never become involved in any debate on the Angling Trust and he was not a member. 'Since our fishery matters are tied in with European fishery policy I think any organisation concerning sea fishing matters in this country can do little to improve fish stocks.'

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That view was shared by Morley who added: 'What I want is some proper input on the horrendous waste brought about by the commercial quota system that forces the trawling industry to tip tons of dead fish back into the sea.'

Yesterday it was reported that our fishery minister Richard Benyon had raised this very issue with his European partners.

The Angling Trust in its Campaign Strategy states: 'Moves to introduce a sea licence have been successfully opposed and the Angling Trust will continue to oppose the introduction of a sea licence.'

With a great majority of sea anglers all this appears to be much ado about nothing for they do not appear to be paid up members of the Trust.

Tony Thomas concluded: 'We are suffering the worst cod season since the turn of the millennium. For better or worse this is the collective responsibility of the European fishery ministers who need to act quickly if our North Sea cod populations are to survive.'