Open Letter to the Green Party

The Salmon & Trout Association is disappointed to learn that
the Green Party representing England and Wales declares itself opposed to angling

Chair of Executive
Hugo Charltonv

Green Party
1a Waterlow Road,
London N19 5NJ

Dear Mr Charlton,

The Salmon & Trout Association is disappointed to learn that the Green Party representing England
and Wales declares itself opposed to angling, and “will promote the voluntary cessation of the
sport through public education” (Policy AR412). We write to urge the Green Party to develop
supportive positions towards angling, and recognize its immense environmental, economic and social

While the Party’s positions don’t directly affect the over 4 million anglers in England and Wales
who voluntarily chose to fish recreationally, it does concern us the Green Party doesn’t recognise
anglers are a potential green constituency, who care for more than attractive scenery.We work for
healthy functioning aquatic ecosystems – inland and marine.No other water sport has the same history
and concern for a healthy aquatic environment.

Over 4 million anglers contribute £3.5 billion per annum into the national economy (IUCN 2003).
An additional 4 million people would like to try angling. Additionally, anglers directly contribute
£19.5 million per annum towards environmental enhancement and fisheries management through rod licences
sales in England and Wales. 21% of 12-16 year olds have been fishing. Another 20% would like to try
fishing. Angling is not a minority sport.It is arguably the sport with the highest participation rate
in the country (EA 2003).Angling extends the tourism season into the spring and autumn sustaining rural
and remote communities with little opportunity for alternative income (IUCN 2003)

Presently, anglers are leading the fight to reverse the environmental degradation caused by excessive
water abstraction and diffuse pollution from intensive agriculture. Our work benefits all water-dependent
wildlife. For example, the Anglers Conservation Association takes polluters to court, and the Rivers Trusts
enhance habitat in cooperation with landowners, which goes a long way to environmental gain.Anglers
are called the “eyes and ears of wildlife“ by Dr. David Bellamy and the Environment Agency.

Alongside the environmental and economic benefits of angling, are the social benefits. For example, the
police originated scheme Get Hooked on Fishing, teaches angling and the associated environmental values
to young people at risk of offending. The tremendous results show that after the youth have taken up
angling, there are zero offences, 80% reduction in truancy, and increased literacy and general educational
performance (EA 2003).

Action by the Green Party to ban lead weights in angling (AR412) is not necessary, as the use of lead
weights was banned in 1987 in England and Wales. Anglers cooperated fully, due to the known harmful
impact of lead.This support for the lead ban is in line with angling’s practice of enhancing aquatic
ecosystems for the benefit of all dependent wildlife.

While the Party’s opposition to angling was motivated by concerns that angling causes suffering to fish,
anglers recognize fish are living creatures worthy of respect and care. Our understanding gained from
the life history of fish, personal experience and authoritative and robust scientific research is that
fish have a totally different nervous system and brain than humans, and they do not feel pain as higher
mammals do (J Rose 2003).

The Salmon & Trout Association urges the Green Party to support angling and anglers, rather than devaluing
them and their contributions. Fish and fish stocks benefit tremendously from angling. It is a sport enjoyed
by millions, sustaining rural communities in harmony with the environment, and provides valuable social and
economic benefits. We are pleased that the Scottish Green Party recognises the value of recreational angling.

We urge the Green Party to change their position about angling to a supportive one, as the Party is closely
aligned with anglers in working for a healthy diverse green world.


Paul Knight