TV chef backs new sea fishing code of conduct

TV chef Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall has launched a new Sea Anglers Code of Conduct.

The project is being run in conjunction with Dorset Wildlife Trust in support of the Recycle Fish campaign to protect wildlife and help recreational fishermen to enjoy their sport with the minimum impact on the marine environment.

A waterproof tackle box card has been produced that lists top tips for handling and caring for sea fish.

River Cottage chef, writer and broadcaster, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, was in Weymouth with River Cottage resident fish expert Nick Fisher to launch the new code.

Hugh said: "Congratulations to the Dorset Wildlife Trust and the Recycle Fish Campaign for working together in the creation of the Anglers Code of Conduct Initiative.

"This waterproof tackle box card will be very useful to recreational sea anglers and I hope everyone will not only embrace the principle of catch and release, but also adopt the recommended methods of handling and caring for our sea fish and the marine environment in which they live."

Dorset is taking a lead for the UK in launching this best practice guide and it is hoped that sea anglers across the country will support it whether fishing at home or while on holiday.

Julie Hatcher, Marine Awareness Officer at Dorset Wildlife Trust, said: "Conservation of the marine environment is vital for the future of sea angling and there has been tremendous support from sports anglers and boat operators. Using barbless hooks, releasing fish quickly and keeping handling to a minimum are some of the ways that recreational anglers can ensure that fish are healthy enough to return and fight another day."

The Recycle Fish campaign's motto is: "Fill your plate, Not your freezer".

The Sea Anglers Code, supported by Weymouth Sealife Park, the Wild about Weymouth and Portland partnership and the Dorset AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) Sustainable Development Fund, is available online and in a new water-resistant Tacklebox Tips leaflet, which includes recommended minimum take sizes.

It is also being distributed to angling clubs, charter boats and tackle shops throughout Dorset. To order copies for your club, ring Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01929 481044 or go to the Recycle Fish website at to download a copy.