The UK’s major angling and fisheries conservation groups have today published a joint paper setting out their concerns over any moves to water down EU environmental legislation and urging the government to seize opportunities for reform of policies regarding farm subsidies and fisheries management in the wake of the Brexit vote earlier this year.

The paper – Brexit, Fisheries and The Water Environment – has been jointly produced by the Angling Trust & Fish Legal, Atlantic Salmon Trust, The Rivers Trust, Countryside Alliance, Salmon & Trout Conservation UK and the Wild Trout Trust. It was formally presented to Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom at this week’s Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham by Angling Trust & Fish Legal Chief Executive Mark Lloyd.

Three quarters of rivers in the UK are failing to reach good ecological status and much of this is down, not to industrial pollution, but to poor agricultural practices in their catchments.  Many marine fish stocks are threatened as a result of commercial over-fishing.

The groups argue that whilst there is an urgent need to reform the wasteful and environmentally damaging system of agricultural subsidies much of the improvement that has occurred in our natural environment has been underpinned by EU measures such as the Water Framework, Marine Strategy Framework, Urban Waste Water and the Habitats Directives. The report calls for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) to be replaced by payments that reward environmentally sensitive practices delivered through farmer-earned recognition and voluntary accreditation. It also identified a number of opportunities arising from Brexit which could benefit both the aquatic environment and rural businesses. 

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