ENVIRONMENT minister Richard Lochhead has won cautious praise for following up quickly on his pledge to create a Scottish sea angling strategy group.

Richard Lochhead launches the economic report

Richard Lochhead, left, launches the economic report in July with Ian Burrett of SSACN

Steve Bastiman, chairman of the Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network (SSACN), the principal campaigners for Government action to protect and revitalise inshore fish stocks, revealed today that it has had a preliminary to get the group underway.

Bastiman said tonight:

“The initial meeting was very informal, but at the moment we are very encouraged by the progress that’s being made towards getting a strategy group in place.” A further meeting later this month is planned to begin creation of the strategy itself.

A Government-sponsored report published in July put the value of recreational sea angling to the Scottish economy, at £140m a year. Fishing off the Mull of Galloway to launch the report, Lochhead announced the creation of a group to help create a development strategy for the sport.

SSACN says its objectives will, in no specific order:

  • identify how aspects of the Marine Bill/Marine Park legislation may impact sea angling
  • ensure the future of those stocks of interest to sea anglers
  • identify key elements that are going to play a significant part in the future of sea angling
  • determine the processes by which sea angling can contribute to the wider marine strategies
  • ensure stock management frameworks adequately reflect the needs of the sea angling sector
  • ensure sea angling opportunities are not artificially restricted.
  • identify activities by which we can increase the awareness and understanding of sea angling
  • increase opportunities for the socially and physically disadvantaged

Bastiman wants anglers to comment on these topics to ensure they have captured the key issues. Comment here, or email SSACN at contact@ssacn.org

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