Chapter 10 - Opportunities and access
Leadership within the angling sector
81. The WFR report recognised that the wild fisheries sector is fragmented compared with other sectors and recommended that Government should give strong encouragement to the main membership bodies with an interest in angling to reach agreement on a single formal lead body to speak on behalf of recreational fishing in Scotland. The WFR introduced the concept of a federated structure built around a shared ambition and aspiration.
82. The body would allow anglers to speak with a single voice, enabling improved communication with a range of national institutions to promote the activity, including with SportScotland, National Lottery bodies and other grant-giving bodies. This type of development has been seen elsewhere in the UK and we wish to explore the potential for it to happen in Scotland. We believe that such leadership, allowing the sector to talk with a collective voice, can help to provide the foundation from which widening opportunities and access can best be achieved.
Q32. Do you consider that there are advantages in the bodies involved in recreational fishing being able to come together to speak through one lead body?
Q33. If so, do you have views on how this could be facilitated and in what timescale?
Widening Opportunities and Access
83. Widening access and promoting opportunity is one of the fundamental principles of a new modern management system set out in chapter 2. Wild fish are a public resource with considerable actual and potential value and can make a significant contribution to social and economic, as well as environmental, outcomes.
84. There are many strong examples of projects and initiatives taken forward by the sector, sometimes supported by public funding, to widen access to fish and fisheries for all in Scottish society, particularly for young people and women who are currently under-represented in the sector. Some of the best-known of these focus on working with schools to promote interest in fish and environmental issues. Others have delivered qualifications to help improve career opportunities and develop the sport of fishing. Some Boards and Trusts have contributed to or developed their own fishing information portals or access schemes in recent years to help market low cost fishing, particularly in areas which are under-fished or where habitat has recently become available. There is potential to build on all of this work, assessing what has been most efficient and effective, and share lessons across the country.
85. The value of wild fisheries in tourism terms is also significant, particularly in certain parts of the country and for certain species. The Scottish Government has recently contracted an independent company to update work undertaken in 2004 on the value of all wild fisheries in Scotland. This will provide up to date information on the value of one of Scotland's natural resources and help inform the development of policy in the future. The work is scheduled to be complete early in the summer.
86. We consider that actions to promote opportunities and access to fishing should be considered as a key theme of the forthcoming national strategy for wild fisheries and appropriate input to that strategy sought from VisitScotland and SportScotland in addition to that from the sector itself.
Q34. Do you agree that promotion of opportunities and access should be a central theme for the national strategy?
Q35. We are interested to hear views on how increasing opportunities and access to fishing can be embedded within the fisheries management system.
Angling for All
87. The WFR noted the potential to derive greater social and economic benefits from angling in Scotland, particularly from coarse fish species and among a younger profile. It recommended that the angling representative bodies, with support from Scottish Government, come together to develop a new programme designed to grow participation in the activity as a whole: Angling for All. Central to the development of an Angling for All programme is the leadership issue identified above. We believe that this is an important precursor to the development of an effective Angling for All programme which takes an inclusive, all species approach.
88. There is a clear passion among anglers for angling and the need to ensure it has a future for generations to come. There is also a clear concern about the lack of young people coming into the sport, jeopardising its future; gender profile is a further issue which merits consideration, as is the potential for meaningful social and economic benefits that the activity can bring to individuals and the country as a whole.
89. The WFR report recommended that funding for Angling for All would come from a rod licence, and a key part of the programme would be access to high quality information about how, where and when it is possible to fish in Scotland.
90. Scottish Ministers have an existing policy not to introduce rod licensing in Scotland. The issue attracts considerable comment and views are highly mixed; there are a number of advantages for and against but a consistent view is that, if introduced, funding from a rod licence should be transparently used for a clear purpose, and it should be designed in a way which does not discourage participation in the sport, particularly from young people.
Q36. Do you support the concept of the angling sector coming together to develop a programme for development of angling (Angling for All), including an emphasis on opportunities for young people and promoting social and economic benefits?
Q37. Should funding for Angling for All come from a rod licence? If not, where should resources be found to support the programme?
Q38. Do you agree that a rod licence should only be used to fund Angling for All, rather than also being used to support wider management activity?