A new dawn for online angling politics?

6 Jan
Angling Trust Chief Executive Mark LLoyd

Angling Trust Chief Executive Mark Lloyd

In the autumn, I wrote an editorial in our members’ magazine The Angler entitled “Let’s agree to disagree”. I had got frustrated with online angling forums which seemed to me to be damaging the reputation of angling in the public eye and stifling real debate because of the behaviour of a small, dominant minority who are intent on bickering with each other publicly. I was therefore delighted to read that World Sea Fishing is going to change the format of its political forums, which have all too often descended into a slanging match. You can read the announcement here http://www.worldseafishing.com/forums/threads/new-rsa-politics-forum.3123999/

Our sport faces some very serious threats, including crashing fish stocks, local angling bans, denial of access and a lack of recruitment of young people. How we respond to these threats requires serious discussion that is properly moderated. As the representative and national governing body for all forms of angling in England, working closely with our equivalent bodies in Scotland and Wales, the Angling Trust is fighting for the interests of anglers every day.

When we meet Ministers and officials, we need to know what anglers really think. It is really useful to us to hear what sensible and serious people think. Our members frequently write to us with their views about what we should be doing for them, and we have a number of freshwater and sea angling regions around the country which hold meetings for our members to discuss issues of local importance to them. Over the past year, we have been campaigning hard and taking legal action on a whole host of issues which reflect what our members have told us they want us to do: bass stocks, access to angling, dredging, fracking, salmon stocks, cormorant predation, poaching, unlawful canoeing and many others. We will continue to do what we can to tackle the most important issues affecting fish and fishing.

When we meet with Ministers we need to know what you think

When we meet with Ministers we need to know what you think

Well-managed online discussions could be another tool to help us do our job even more effectively. Unfortunately there is a limit to the time we can spend participating in forums – we have very limited staff resources – but if they were run well and people stick to the rules, then they could make a positive contribution to discussion and highlight things that we need to take on.

Angling politics forums in the UK often make grim reading. Someone starts a thread and for the first few pages there is a perfectly reasonable discussion until two people disagree with each other so fundamentally that they launch into a tirade of personal insults and abuse. These spats can become long-running battles which spill into every other thread with which either of the people gets involved.

The end results are not only boring for the rest of us, but they destroy the foundation of reasoned debate and give an appalling impression to people who think that these views are representative of our community. These comments must surely make people who are getting into angling for the first time, and perhaps turning to forums for some helpful advice, think twice about taking up the sport.

I think it’s time to clean up our act, and I hope that this new forum will enable people who really care about the future of recreational sea angling to share their views without fear of harassment and participate in constructive and useful discussions about the future.

Now that World Sea Fishing Forums have changed their approach, perhaps others might follow suit? We’ll certainly be watching to see how it works in practice. Here’s hoping for a more harmonious and constructive debate in 2015!

With all best wishes for 2015 from everyone at the Angling Trust and Fish Legal.

Mark Lloyd

Chief Executive

Angling Trust & Fish Legal

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3 Responses to “A new dawn for online angling politics?”

  1. alcorpage January 6, 2015 at 4:28 pm #

    ” Harmonious & constructive debate” ? We are sea anglers, who are a disparate lot. Some fish purely for sport, others to feed themselves & their families. Their priorities are entirely different with regards to their fishing activity, and this is reflected in the views expressed on the various forums.

  2. Bob Shotter January 6, 2015 at 8:57 pm #

    As one of those described above I would agree personal tit for tat is counter productive. Politics can and often does bring out the worst in people and with something as diverse as sea angling then it is hardly likely to be a place were you have 100% peace and harmony. It wont fly as they say.
    I would however like to wish MTj all the very best with the new forum, any one making one work in the age of Facebook will be bucking the trend that’s for sure.

  3. Ron Angel January 7, 2015 at 3:07 pm #

    here we go, lets agree to disagree, there is slightly more to it than just that. Here we have TAT looking for a new platform to provide all rsa with their one sided lop sided view on what management we are to expect from them. within the article there is so many lop sided views of how this TAT guy see’s the rsa and previous discussions, it’s laudable. Are we to see a change in TAT’s tactics, not one bit. They will hide behind the mods, let them do their sanitation work that TAT already carry out on their face book page for example, to show all, TAT are the saviour of the rsa, they are not, far from it. Their last attempt at a web based forum failed due to their very own members revolting, (pun intended). Are we to see a balanced political platform from TAT, not one bit. Also there will be the hangers on coming out of the woodwork, from behind the parapet with their idea that they will be safe from criticism that is needed to stop their onward march of legislation and management that the rsa does not need. The case in point is the way, without consultation TAT are handling behind anglers backs the bass issue, creating a doom and gloom, now throughout Europe fisheries, based on aged science from one area in the channel. Ignoring all of the fabulous rsa captures of the bass, last year. Ignoring the 3 recent years of warm winters, that nature is doing to balance their doom and gloom of cold winters and the stock is going to fall off a cliff. Come the day TAT when you can include all rsa into the equation as opposed to telling all that your ideal is what all anglers want and need, is the day all rsa start to believe your guff, when are you as an org going to get even one rsa rep on your books? btw as usual all rsa whom you claim to govern, did not read your agree to disagree editorial for the very reason that you do not speak to all rsa and if your frustrated my friend, then do start waking up to the ideal that it is you and your org that is lacking and deal with it. The very real threat to rsa is from what you as an org and the restriction you are looking for, with your intentional alienation of our commercial fishing friends as opposed to speaking to them and working together to sort out the actual problems. Down to you and your directors chum, not the few real rsa anglers whom you fear.

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