TWO KEY marine planning publications have emerged within the last few days, each of which has direct implications for anglers.

Marine Scotland - vision

Government documents rarely make cosy fireside reading, and those which claim to be “visionary” are often scorned with cynicism. You have to be prepared to filter out the jargon and official-ese but the essence of both papers is fairly clear and unambiguous and worth taking the time to read.

Once you have done that, the question which remains is: quite apart from the impact of the impending election, how will the enormous practicalities of delivering these ideals around our shores be tackled.

The first is the UK Government’s strategy for creating a network of marine protected areas around our coasts. The vision, as set out by DEFRA , “encompasses the philosophy of sustainable development, and applies to all activities, from fishing to sailing, to dredging for aggregates, to generating energy from renewable sources and the associated network infrastructure to enable this to be connected to the shore. It also captures the idea of a thriving natural environment.”

The second, and the easier to digest, is Making the Most of Scotland’s Seas, the Scottish Government’s view of how it plans to strike the balance between the exploitation and sustainability of our marine resources.

It follows hard on the heels of the Scottish Marine Act and is hailed by fisheries and environment secretary, Richard Lochhead as “another significant step towards a more integrated, simpler and efficient marine management system. Working with other partner agencies such as SEPA, SNH and Historic Scotland, and with local authorities and others, we will strive to deliver a sustainable future for Scotland’s marine and coastal environments and the wider economy.

It will be interesting to note how many of our would-be new MPs embrace not only these ideals around the hustings during the next few weeks, actively canvass the angling community – and pledge to deliver.

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