FISHING is the most popular pastime in the country and there are thousands of anglers in London.
Now the EU wants to regulate recreational fishing.
Brussels wants sea anglers to be subject to the disastrous Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), imposing quotas on recreational fishermen limiting the number of fish they are allowed to catch.
At present, while they keep the odd fish for personal consumption, most sea anglers return their catches to the water.
In some cases they tag them first, contributing to conservation programmes.
If the European Commission gets its way, they will be forced to land every tiddler they catch, and to count them against the national quota.
Where is the need for this expensive and cumbersome scheme? Will it rescue the EU's fish stocks? Hardly.
The CFP has already wiped out most of what ought to have been a great renewable resource. Recreational sea anglers account for perhaps one per cent of the total catch that remains.
No, this is regulation for its own sake, the product of an attitude that sees 'unregulated' as synonymous with 'illegal.'
The CFP has put large numbers of British fishermen out of business. Some of them turned to tourism, making a living by taking anglers out in their boats.
Now the CFP threatens to ruin them a second time,bringing to amateur fishermen the destruction that it brought to professionals.
And to think that there are people in Iceland who want to join this wretched organisation.
GERARD BATTEN MEP,
UK Independence Party, Queen Anne's Gate,