A major new initiative aimed at improving recreational fisheries in the UK has been launched in London at a meeting hosted by Martin Salter MP, Labour's Parliamentary spokesman for Angling.
Developed by the Institute of Fisheries Management, the Angling Foundation and the Professional Coarse Fisheries Association with the approval of the Environment Agency, the new initiative is aimed at driving upwards the competence of fisheries managers and improving the management of fish in recreational fisheries.
Under the Fisheries Accreditation Scheme, coarse fisheries will be invited to be inspected by qualified IFM professional members using the Institute's 'Codes of Practice' as a baseline for the standards that will be assessed. If successful, the fishery will be issued with a certificate – at Gold, Silver or Bronze level - and will be entitled to publicise the accreditation under a two-year licence agreement.
At the Portcullis House launch, opposite the Houses of Parliament, Martin Salter was joined by speakers from the Institute of Fisheries Management; the Angling Foundation; the Environment Agency; the Professional Coarse Fisheries Association; and the Fisheries and Angling Conservation Trust.
This was followed by the public launch and workshop meeting, held in Nottingham, at which fishery owners and tenants joined in discussions on the scheme and the IFM's Biosecurity Code of Conduct.
Initially, the Fisheries Accreditation Scheme will restricted to coarse fisheries, although there are plans to extend it to stillwater trout fisheries in future.
Fishery owners interested in learning more or wanting to obtain an application form to join the scheme are asked to contact Suraj Roopra, Fisheries Accreditation Scheme, Federation House, National Agricultural Centre, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire CV8 2RF. Tel: 02476 414999; Fax: 02476 414999. Alternatively they can e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Fisheries Accreditation Scheme website at www.fisheriesaccreditation.co.uk.