Exciting developments following on from a number of discussions have resulted in the recent announcement that the Angling Trades Association (ATA) and the Angling Trust (AT) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The strategic aim of this collaboration is to secure a sustainable future for angling by recruiting and retaining more anglers, campaigning to protect and improve fish stocks and the rights of anglers to fish for them and thereby generating more customers for the trade.
Angling and the industries it supports face huge challenges. The average age of anglers is increasing, rod licence sales are declining and the recent Active People Survey showed a dramatic drop in weekly participation. Many companies involved in servicing the angling industry are facing reduced revenues as a consequence. At a time such as this, it is vital for national angling bodies to make the best use of resources to address these challenges and breathe new life into angling. The pragmatic way to achieve this is for organisations in the sector to work collaboratively and to investigate new ways of benefitting from economies of scale and clarity of structures.
The ‘Fishing for Life’ National Angling Strategy was published by the Angling Trust in November 2012 with the support of the Environment Agency and informed by the national surveys undertaken by the research company Substance. The strategy was also partly underpinned by the ‘Fishing for Answers’ report, published by Substance in January 2012, to which the Angling Trades Association and the Angling Trust were significant contributors. The new MoU both embraces the sentiments of this strategy and uses the detail to frame the actions to be undertaken.
Naidre Werner, Chair for the ATA stated: ‘These are exciting times. The MoU underpins our commitment to each other as two strategically important organisations within the angling sector. Working together will help increase the profile of important participation initiatives such as National Fishing Month, Take A Friend Fishing, Family Fishing Days and the Get Out There campaign. Initial planning meetings for these projects have been exceptionally constructive and I am sure that outcomes will be very positive.’
Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal said: ’This agreement is another important step towards unity in angling and a brighter future for the many businesses and jobs that depend on the health of our sport. The central concept behind the formation of the Angling Trust was that we can achieve far more by joining forces and working together than we can by working in separate factions. I am delighted to be working more closely with the Angling Trades Association and look forward to developing our relationship over the coming months.’