A major petition designed to protect the ancient hobby of sea angling from becoming stifled by EU bureaucracy will be launched in Falmouth tomorrow, Saturday.

Local campaigners will launch the petition, called “Hands Off Our Fishing”, at the Watersports Centre in Falmouth at 9.30am and hope as many anglers as possible will be present.

The campaign has been launched in response to controversial plans in Brussels to bring licensing to recreational fishing under the EU Common Fisheries Policy.

The move would result in sea anglers being forced to keep records of all fish they catch as all boats used to catch fish - even if only once a year - will have to be registered as fishing vessels under the Common Fisheries Policy.

In response, local campaigners have set up a campaign to protect recreational fishing from the controversial moves.

Tomorrow, they will be joined by Neil Parish, South West MEP and Conservative Chairman of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee to launch a new petition. The petition will be circulated widely.

The campaigners have also set up a website - see link below, - for people to register their support.

Due to the Common Fisheries Policy, more than two million tonnes of fish are thrown back into the sea every year because they are over quota, the wrong species or are simply not worth enough money when sold.

However, the campaigners argue that recreational fishing is not the cause of failing fish stocks and shouldn't be targeted as such.

They are calling on the European Commission to leave recreational fishing alone and to concentrate on widespread reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.

They have also called on the British Government to stand up to the Commission and not cave in to the demands, which will affect more than million anglers in the UK and which threatens the viability and future of the sport itself.