Sea Angling 2012 is the biggest-ever survey of the sport in England, and began collecting data in August 2011. It will be collecting data through several work streams involving Cefas, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) and individual Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCAs).
An initial press release announcing the project, issued by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra, the sponsoring department), raised concerns among some sea anglers about how the evidence gathered will be interpreted and used.
Some sea anglers have questioned the rationale behind this new scientific and economic survey, so a Questions and Answers document has been added to the project website (www.seaangling2012.org.uk) to address those queries.
The project aims to find out how many people go sea angling, how many fish they catch and how many are returned to the sea alive, and how important the sport is to the country’s economy.
The freely available Q&A ensures that sea anglers, boat owners and other stakeholders will be able to make an informed decision about contributing to the project, based on a clear and balanced understanding of the project and its intended outcomes.
Project progress reports and outputs will also be available on the project website.
Project Manager, Mike Armstrong, said: “We have received valuable advice from the project Steering Group – which includes a cross-section of the angling community – on how best to engage with and collect information from sea anglers around the coast.”
“Taking part in the surveys is voluntary,” he continued, “but we hope that most anglers will participate as they will see the benefits of building the evidence base that will allow their sport to be fairly represented in the development of marine policy.”
Mike Armstrong continues: “We hope that the Q&A will begin to correct the misinformation that seems to be circulating on some angling websites and blogs.
“Sea Angling 2012 is a scientific project designed to obtain an accurate picture of sea angling activities in England, and includes the economic and social benefits of sea angling. We want to ensure that the data we collect enables sea anglers to be fairly represented in the development of potential policy options in future.”