International sea angling event launches with conservation at its heart

Man in blue jacket fishing in a boat

Marine biologists will use data from the caught fish to inform and support conservation and management polices in the Solent.

  • 23 July 2021
  • 4 min read

An international sea fishing competition launches this month on England’s south coast, bringing together conservation, education and business, whilst encouraging the next generation of anglers.

The Sea Angling Classic runs from 23 to 25 July in the Solent as an invite-only event with the full competition set to take place in 2022, which aims to reel in 400 boats and an estimated 1,200 anglers.

Marine biologists from the University of Portsmouth will use data from the caught fish, which are returned to the water (species, catch location, length etc.), to inform and support conservation and management polices of key species of fish, skate, ray and shark in the Solent.

Gordon Watson, Professor of Marine Zoology, said: “This assessment is crucial as it will help us to understand the effects of key stressors such as habitat loss. We will also be able to determine a habitat’s function for the species (e.g. nursery or feeding areas) and compare data to records of commercial catches.

“This work will also generate long-term data for species that are ecologically and commercially important and may also be protected under conservation legislation.”

This assessment is crucial as it will help us to understand the effects of key stressors such as habitat loss. We will also be able to determine a habitat’s function for the species (e.g. nursery or feeding areas) and compare data to records of commercial catches.

Gordon Watson, Professor of Marine Zoology

The Sea Angling Classic is run by Angling Spirit, based in Emsworth and Northney Marina, the organisation behind the hugely successful World Carp and World Predator Classics competitions. However, the event is much more than simply a sea fishing competition. Throughout, there will be a major emphasis on conservation and the environment, with daily beach clean-ups and a focus on the Solent’s coastal habitats such as sea grass.

The Angling Trust will be bringing newcomers into the sport with a special children’s fishing academy running each day.

The event starts at Northney Marina on Friday 23 July with a launch reception. The following two days will see a boat parade up Chichester Harbour to the start line for a televised invitational competition involving 150 media, guests and anglers, alongside the shore clean-ups and children’s fishing academy before an evening prize-giving on Sunday 25 July.

Angling Spirit and Sea Angling Classic founder Ross Honey explained: “This will be an event like no other, encompassing a vast spectrum of activities and initiatives covering conservation of key fish species in the Solent, vital marine research, education, business networking and a boost to the local economy.”

You can follow the event via the Live Leaderboard app, available on both Android and Apple.

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