Nine of the countries major angling and wildlife organizations have urged the Government to‘shift up a gear’ in delivering improvements for fish and fisheries.The Angling Trust & Fish Legal, Angling Trades Association, Atlantic Salmon Trust, Bass Anglers Sportfishing Society, Countryside Alliance, Institute of Fisheries Management, Salmon & Trout Association, The Rivers Trust and the Wild Trout Trust have united to write to the Environment and Fisheries Minister, George Eustice, to demand urgent action to address recent dramatic declines in stocks of salmon and bass, and to ‘shift up a gear’ in delivering improvements to the aquatic environment generally.In an open letter to the Minister, the organisations have called on him to take action to restore fish stocks and to protect the recreational angling industry, which contributes £4 billion to the UK economy each year and supports 40,000 jobs.In light of public budget cuts, they proposed that he sets out a new strategy that gives organisations in the charitable and not-for-profit sector an increased role in practical works to improve fish stocks such as installing fish passes and restoring degraded habitats.“We strongly urged the Minister to take a serious grip on the situation facing some of our marine and freshwater fish stocks,” said Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust & Fish Legal. “Urgent action is required at UK and international levels right now to stop the general malaise of nearly all stocks in recent decades, and the very rapid decline in stocks of bass and salmon in the past few years.
“The nation’s three million anglers are fed up with waiting for government and its agencies to make progress on key issues such as agricultural pollution, over-abstraction of water, unsustainable netting and illegal fishing."
The organisations have also written separate detailed letters to the Minister, pressing him to take urgent action to stop the dramatic declines in bass and salmon stock. They also highlighted the need for farmers to tackle widespread pollution and run-off from fields in return for the £2 billion subsidy they receive each year in Single Farm Payments from the taxpayer. Modern farming practices that cause soil erosion and surface water run-off are increasingly harming wildlife and fisheries, causing flooding in communities and putting costs onto water bills as water companies have to remove soil, pesticides and animal faeces from water for supply.