Sea Anglers Demand Fair Deal in new Fisheries Bill

The Angling Trust has called on the government to give sea angling a fair deal ahead of the publication of a white paper setting out proposals for a new UK fisheries bill.

In a briefing sent to the Fisheries Minister, George Eustice, the Trust has urged the government to follow the example of other countries and recognise the potential of developing world-class recreational fishing in the UK now that the country will no longer be constrained by the EU Common Fisheries Policy.

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Approximately one million members of the public spend well over £2bn annually on sea angling in the UK, supporting tens of thousands of livelihoods, many in deprived coastal communities. English sea anglers pay as much into the Treasury as the entire value of English commercial fishing landings, for which they receive no acknowledgement or proper consideration in terms of resource allocation.

The Trust wants to see management objectives, or recreational fishery development goals, which support and grow recreational angling. An example of this from overseas is in the USA where recreational fishing for striped bass has been allowed to thrive as the major stakeholder in the fishery and is now valued at a staggering $6.5bn supporting an estimated 63,000 jobs.

Measures designed to support and develop angling, such as the restored presence and abundance of the UK’s inshore fish stocks, with naturally occurring age structures, including mature, adult, fish would motivate the angling public to fish more often and spend more money supporting coastal communities and businesses throughout the UK. The government’s objective of fishing at ‘maximum sustainable yield’ isn’t, on its own, a suitable objective for stocks most valuable to members of the public fishing with rod and line.

Despite the evidence of the importance of recreational fishing to people, communities and the economy, Defra still focuses its efforts on managing stocks wholly for commercial fishing, excluding the recreational sea angling sector from participating equitably in the process of formulating management policy or management measures.  Recreational angling nearly always gets overlooked in government policies about marine fisheries.

David Mitchell, the Angling Trust’s Head of Marine, said: 'There’s no reason why the UK couldn’t follow the path of the USA, New Zealand and Australia, to name a few countries, and officially recognise that the public, many of whom fish for their own pleasure or personal consumption, are, as well as being the owners of public fishery resources, also the major economic players in many fisheries and must be considered on an equal footing with commercial fishing in the management of publicly-owned fish stocks. The evidence in support of this is overwhelming. The only thing holding this back is a lack of political courage to make it happen.'

In a number of recommendations, the Trust is calling on the government to recognise the public’s right to access publicly-owned fish stocks and to allocate fishing opportunities based on the social, economic and environmental benefits to society, based on the principle of ‘optimal utilisation’.

Evidence already exists that for some stocks members of the public fishing recreationally delivers the optimal use of the resource generating the highest economic and employment benefits and contributing the lowest biological impact on stocks. This evidence now needs to be acted on and turned into policy so that the government’s objectives of leaving the environment in a better condition for the next generation and regenerating coastal communities can be delivered.

Hunt saboteurs target the ancient art of angling

The Hunt Saboteurs Association this week launched a misguided attempt to disrupt the Angling Trust’s Cormorant Watch website by encouraging its supporters to record bogus sightings of cormorants, goosanders and mergansers.

When the site was set up to campaign for greater controls of these fish-eating birds, which are now present in the UK in unsustainable numbers, the Angling Trust established a quality assurance protocol to avoid vexatious action such as this.

The Angling Trust, which is the representative body for all anglers in England and Wales, calls on Hunt Saboteurs to stop wasting their time by recording false sightings because they will not be included in the final figures.

The Trust urged them to understand the damage these birds are doing to fish populations and freshwater ecosystems. Cormorants were very rarely seen inland before the 1980s, but their numbers have increased enormously since and they are now a significant factor in the decline of many fish populations in the context of widespread pollution, over-abstraction of water and habitat damage.

Goosanders and mergansers are a particular problem on salmon rivers, nearly all of which are classified as being at risk of failing to meet their conservation targets due to declining stocks.

Research from the Atlantic Salmon Trust has shown that 40-50% of young salmon die on their journey down rivers, with predation the most likely cause. On the Hampshire Avon, a river once famous for its specimen roach stocks, the species was almost wiped out in the middle reaches of the river as cormorant numbers exploded in the 1990s.

The Angling Trust is encouraging anglers to continue submitting sightings to the database up to the 31st March when the survey is due to end so that it can build a picture of the distribution of the birds to support better management of predation at a national level. The Angling Trust will be backing up this information by contacting more than 2,000 angling clubs and fisheries it has in membership and asking them to contribute to a survey about fish-eating birds to provide more evidence to Ministers and statutory agencies to press them to take action.

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust & Fish Legal said: 'It is disappointing that these animal rights extremists have chosen to target angling with their hateful action. Online comments on forums associated with this movement have even called for anglers to be shot, which is appalling.               

He added: 'Anglers invest tens of millions of pounds and hundreds of thousands of volunteer hours restoring water environments, monitoring and reporting pollution and collecting litter.  We have never called for predatory birds to be wiped out but we do want to see sensible, proportionate management to control their numbers at sustainable levels that can support viable fish populations. Angling is loved by three million people, supports 40,000 jobs and generates £3billion for the UK economy. These people will not stop us fishing.'

A ‘Brilliant’ New Website Helps Anglers Find the Perfect Fishing Spot

A new mobile-friendly interactive website has been launched today (9th June) to help anglers, and would-be anglers, find the best spot to fish.

Fishinginfo.co.uk provides everything needed for a fishing trip, from searching for fishing spots to what the weather is doing and live water levels to information on buying a rod licence and where to buy kit.

With so much information available to anglers, Fishinginfo.co.uk provides a vital source of reference to all things fishing within a single website. It also gives information on tackle shops, angling clubs and coaches. Free registration allows anglers to receive all kinds of useful information, save their favourites and build up a series of links, which will help them to make the most of their day’s fishing.

Produced by the Angling Trust in partnership with the Environment Agency, Met Office and Post Office, Fishinginfo.co.uk is part of a major nationwide drive to increase participation in angling.

Launching on 9th June 2015Fishinginfo.co.uk will initially be fronted by the popular comic actor Paul Whitehouse.  Paul, an Angling Trust Ambassador, was very keen to get involved, even reprising the ‘Brilliant Kid’ character made famous by the hugely successful BBC comedy series ‘The Fast Show’.

A special launch film starring Paul as the ‘Brilliant Kid’ talking about how ‘Fantastic’ fishing is will be available from the launch date at http://youtube.com/fishinginfoukat. Advertising in the national angling press plus a social media campaign will support the launch.

Paul Whitehouse commented:

'It was a pleasure to get involved and put something back into a sport that I have loved since I was a kid. I enjoyed playing ‘Brilliant Kid’ again in what will probably be his last hurrah. I hope that anglers and fans of the ‘Fast Show’ will enjoy the film, If we can encourage any more people to take up fishing then it will have been worth it.'

Angling Trust Chief Executive Mark Lloyd commented:

'We are delighted to be launching Fishinginfo.co.uk. This new website will really make a difference for anglers looking to find new places to fish or getting back into fishing after taking some time out due to the pressures of family life.  We urge all anglers, clubs and fisheries to use the update feature on the site to ensure that information is correct.  We also want to make buying a rod licence as quick and simple as possible so our direct link to the Post Office website should help with that.

Our launch is made even more special in that Paul Whitehouse is fronting our campaign. Paul is a very keen angler who supports the vital work carried out by the Trust. We hope our ‘Brilliant Kid’ film will appeal to anglers and non-anglers alike, attracting a wider audience and growing participation in the sport we all love.'

Sarah Chare, Head of Fisheries at the Environment Agency, said:

'The Fishinginfo website is a fantastic new resource for all anglers and those wanting to get started. We are really pleased to have contributed to this initiative – another great example of how rod licence money goes back to benefit those who go fishing. Fishing is an excellent way to enjoy the outdoors, has great health, welfare and educational benefits and it is important to our economy.  A coarse and trout rod licence is only £27 for the year and it is easy to buy online from the Post Office website which can be also be accessed through FishingInfo.co.uk.'

Fishinginfo.co.uk is designed for use on mobiles and tablets as well as your home or work computer.

Anglers Celebrate As EU Bans Trawling For Bass

Trawling for bass during the spawning period has been banned in a historic set of emergency measures aimed at averting a total collapse of Europe’s bass stocks.

The ban on pelagic trawling – which accounts for 25 per cent of the impact on the stock and includes the controversial method of pair trawling – will begin immediately in the Channel, Celtic sea, Irish Sea and Southern North Sea and run until April 30th during which time adult bass aggregate to reproduce and are most vulnerable.

The EU is putting forward further measures to deal with the impact on bass stocks of recreational and other commercial fishing methods. For recreational bass angling the proposals include a three fish a day bag limit and an increase in the legal minimum size of bass from 36cm to 42cm.

The European Commission is also proposing limiting catches for other commercial bass fisheries and is working on a proposal with member states which will be taken to the Council of fisheries ministers as soon as possible.

The emergency measures have been introduced following scientific advice in June 2014 that recommended an 80 per cent cut in catches from the previous year and confirmation that continued fishing pressure was leading to serious harm to the reproductive capacity of the stock.

This is the first time that Article 12 of the reformed Common Fisheries Policy has been invoked due to, 'A serious threat to the conservation of marine biological resources..'.

The Angling Trust and our partners at the Bass Anglers Sportfishing Society (B.A.S.S.) and (European Anglers Alliance) have been campaigning tirelessly for the introduction of conservation measures for bass – a crucially important recreational species and one that generates hundreds of millions of pounds and supports tens of thousands of jobs across Europe. In 2012 the Angling Trust organised a delegation to the then Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon to press the case for bass conservation measures in the face of evidence demonstrating that stocks were in trouble.

The Angling Trust will be continuing to work with the UK and the Commission to ensure that the measures to limit other commercial bass fisheries are in proportion to the new bag limit and minimum size being proposed for recreational catches. In addition the Trust will be working with the UK to agree on what additional measures the UK can take to restore the UK bass fishery.

David Mitchell, the Angling Trust’s Marine Campaigns Manager, said:

'Emergency measures such as this, can last for a maximum of 12 months so it is crucial that the Commission and member states now follow through on the commitment to develop a long term bass management plan which the Angling Trust and our partners will play a key role in helping to develop. This is an historic decision for recreational fishing and hopefully represents a sea change in public policy towards marine conservation. However, there's a long way to go yet to achieve what is needed for a truly sustainable fishery.'

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust, said:

'Bass anglers have been calling for action to protect stocks for nearly a decade and it seems that the UK government and European Commission have at last acted, in the face of undeniable scientific evidence and a concerted campaign by the Angling Trust and BASS.  The immediate emergency measures that have been confirmed are very welcome and the intention to follow these up with further restrictions on commercial exploitation is encouraging.'

Nigel Horsman, of the Bass Anglers Sportfishing Society, said:

'This is a great day for Dicentrarchus Labrax, the fabulous European Sea Bass, and what we have been working so hard and waiting so long for.  We also look forward to the production of a long term management plan for bass, which will lead to healthy stocks of all sizes of bass for the benefit of everyone who uses this stock sustainably.

I would like to pay tribute to the fantastic work of everyone in the Bass Anglers Sportfishing Society (BASS) and the Angling Trust who campaigned for this for many years. The strength and breadth of that support has been invaluable in achieving this amazing result. 

We know that recruitment to the adult stock will be weak for the next few years, but I hope these measures will ensure that the current stock remains broadly stable until environmental conditions allow a full stock recovery, which we can cherish and then enjoy great British Bass fishing for many years to come.'

Illegal fishing and fish theft

Operation TRAVERSE - Targeting illegal fishing and fish theft

 

Operation TRAVERSE - Targeting illegal fishing and fish theft
Press Call: Lincolnshire Police Headquarters
Midday, Wednesday 12 November 2014

Poaching and fish theft are of increasing concern to anglers and in addressing this issue the Angling Trust has achieved support from the Association of Chief Police Officers and National Wildlife Crime Unit. Currently Project Trespass aims to provide a coordinated response to poaching and raise awareness of this issue amongst police forces.

Under the umbrella of Project Trespass, Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire Police - in partnership with the Angling Trust, Environment Agency (EA) and Fish Health Inspectorate (FHI) - are launching Operation TRAVERSE to target illegal fishing and fish theft in Fenland.

One problem in this part of England - historically famous for predator fishing in winter - is the issue of migrant anglers from Eastern Europe sometimes not understanding British angling law and our conservation-based approach to angling. Here, National Byelaws limit the size and numbers of fish that can be retained, and removing fish from enclosed waters without the owner's consent is theft.

To help deal with this problem the Angling Trust's 'Building Bridges Project' aims to educate and integrate migrant anglers.

In June 2014 key Angling Trust enforcement staff visited Poland and forged a partnership with its PSR government fisheries department and voluntary fisheries enforcement organisations.

Angling Trust enforcement staff with PSR officers in Koszalin, Poland, June 2014

Angling Trust enforcement staff with PSR officers in Koszalin, Poland, June 2014

As a result of this visit, information is now passed to the British authorities about those prosecuted in Poland who are likely to travel to England and details of offenders here are provided to the PSR. This process and exchange of information has now been adopted by other Eastern European countries.

As part of their participation in Operation TRAVERSE and the sharing of best practice and intelligence, PSR officers are meeting with British enforcement partners this month.

Press Call:
Press are invited to meet participating PSR officers, Police, EA, FHI, Angling Trust staff and other partners at Lincolnshire Police Headquarters, LN2 2LT at 12 mid-day on Wednesday 12 November 2014. A PDF map can be found HERE.

Angling Trust National Enforcement Manager, Dilip Sarkar MBE, said: 'This is a really important operation aimed at raising awareness of this serious issue and emphasising the partnership approach now being taken. It is essential that anglers contribute to this process by reporting incidents and information to the police on 101 or EA on 0800 80 70 60, quoting Operation TRAVERSE. The Fenland 'River Watch' initiative has a key role to play in this process and we commend those involved for their ongoing efforts and support'.

Sergeant Dave Robinson of Lincolnshire Police said: 'Poaching fits within the much bigger picture of Rural & Wildlife Crime, which we are keen to address, not least because of the wider criminality frequently involved and the negative impact upon livelihoods. We very much welcome therefore, the opportunity to play a key role in TRAVERSE and work with all our partners to achieve the required result through raising awareness, education and positive enforcement'.

Adrian Saunders, EA Fisheries Enforcement Campaigns Manager, said: 'We fully support TRAVERSE and look forward to this multi-agency approach - and especially to meeting and sharing Best Practice with the PSR'.

Angling Trust 'Building Bridges' Project Manager, Rado Papiewski, said: 'We are most grateful not only to the police, EA and FHI but equally the PSR, for travelling to England and assisting us. We hope that this will increase awareness throughout the migrant community of the severity of this issue, and help educate more migrant anglers regarding the law and catch and release rules and culture'.

Jon Hulland from Cefas FHI said: 'We also welcome TRAVERSE, which provides an excellent opportunity to raise awareness and address this issue through all-important partnership working'.

Pike Anglers' Club Chairman and Angling Trust Ambassador Neville Fickling said: 'This has been an ongoing problem for some time, and we are delighted to see that some joined up thinking and working will now help address it. Reporting incidents is clearly crucial to the success of TRAVERSE and I would urge anglers and the public to report incidents and information accordingly'.

Review of multiple rod licence

Angling Trust and Environment Agency Launch Review of Multiple Rod Licence

The Angling Trust has begun discussions with the Environment Agency on the controversial issue of the coarse angling licence for the use of multiple rods, which has been a longstanding complaint of many carp and specimen anglers who feel aggrieved at having to buy two separate rod licences.

The strength of feeling on this subject has once again been illustrated in the Angling Trust's current angling survey, which is still open until October 31st, and in regular representations to both the Trust and carp fishing magazines and organisations.

The Trust has been very encouraged by the willingness of Sarah Chare, the new Head of Fisheries at the EA, to consider this and other possible reforms of the rod licence regime. Any changes could not be implemented until April 2016 at the earliest however, because of the constraints of the commercial rod licence contract.

The Angling Trust believes that the current arrangements need to change as they don't seem fair to carp and other specimen anglers using three rods, but being charged for four. On the other hand any changes must not reduce the funds available to the EA for the restocking of waters, tackling fish health issues and delivering fisheries improvement and habitat restoration works, particularly at a time when the government is cutting grant funding to the Agency.

Other issues under discussion will include the possibility of abolishing the junior licence in order to encourage more youngsters to take up fishing and introducing a 365 day rolling licence rather than the current 31st March end date.

Angling Trust Campaigns Chief Martin Salter said:

'Even tench and barbel anglers like myself, who usually fish with either one or two rods at a time, would sometimes like to use a third rod to switch quickly to a new method or to stalk a fish showing in the margins or well away from our baited areas. Whilst many anglers I know won't buy two separate licences at the moment, they would be happy to pay a fair price to occasionally use a third rod. Personally, I wouldn't mind paying a bit more for my own licence if it meant that more juniors under 16 could fish for free, because anything that attracts youngsters into our sport has to be good for the future of angling.'

The moves by the Angling Trust and the Environment Agency have been welcomed by leading figures in the carp world.

Simon Crow, editor of Carp-Talk with over twenty years' experience working in the carp fishing trade, added:

'The majority of fisheries up and down the country allow carp anglers to use a maximum of three rods. It therefore seems a waste that we need to buy two two-rod licences to cater for this. It would be so much more user friendly if a single rod licence was introduced to cater for this.'

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust & Fish Legal said:

'We welcome the willingness of Sarah Chare to listen to the views of the angling community and to consider carefully taking action to make the licence system fairer for carp and specimen anglers. One of the most important parts of the Angling Trust's job is to represent the views of anglers to the Environment Agency and government. We need to find a workable way forward that is fairer to carp and specimen anglers without impacting significantly on the funds that pay for the vital work of the Agency's fisheries department.'

Sarah Chare, Deputy Director of Fisheries, Biodiversity and Geomorphology from the Environment Agency added:

'The Environment Agency is starting a review of rod licence arrangements that will not come into effect until April 2016. This review may also affect the cost of rod licences, which have remained at the same level for the last 5 years. As part of this review we are talking with the Angling Trust and other partners to understand the views of the angling groups they represent. Within government rules we will be seeking the fairest deal for anglers that secures the best future for angling through the services the Environment Agency delivers both directly and through the partners we fund.'

New appointments at AT and Fish Legal

New Appointments to Angling Trust Board of Directors and Fish Legal Committee

At the AGM of the Angling Trust earlier in October, and at the AGM of Fish Legal on the same day, the members of each organisation respectively voted almost unanimously to appoint two new Directors to the Angling Trust Board, one new Trustee to the Fish Legal Committee and to support changes to the rules of both organisations.  Nigel Haywood and Tim Macpherson have been appointed to the Angling Trust Board, while Tim Goode has joined the Fish Legal Committee (biographies below).

Jim Glasspool, Mike Heylin, David Moore and Terry Fell all retired as Angling Trust Board members at the AGM, but were appointed as Vice Presidents of the Angling Trust to reflect the unique role that they all played in bringing together the many founding organisations as part of the unification of angling that happened in 2009 to form the Angling Trust & Fish Legal.  Terry Fell has also stepped down as a Fish Legal Committee member.

George Stephenson, Chairman of the Angling Trust said: 'The vision, enthusiasm and bloody-minded determination of the Angling Trust’s founding Directors to succeed created a very impressive platform from which we can hopefully expand and improve the world of fish and fishing in our country.  I’m delighted that they will become the inaugural Vice Presidents of the Angling Trust, and we will no doubt continue to seek their wisdom and advice.  On behalf of the members of the Angling Trust I would like to thank them unconditionally for all they have done to unify angling, as unpaid volunteers, over the past years.'

Dick Vincent, Chairman of Fish Legal said: 'I am very pleased that Tim Goode has been elected by the members to the Fish Legal Committee.  I’m sure that his skills and experience will be very valuable to us, particularly with regard to management of investment funds.  He joins a Committee which comprises a number of very committed and knowledgeable volunteers who support the work of Fish Legal.  I would like to thank Terry Fell for his distinguished service on the Committee since 2009 and wish him all the best for his retirement!'

The short biographies of the new Directors and Committee Members are provided below.


Biographies

NIGEL HAYWOOD (Angling Trust)

Retired after 30 years in the Diplomatic Service, most recently serving as Ambassador to Estonia; Consul-General in Basra; and Governor of the Falkland Islands. He has negotiated effectively at the highest political levels and has broad media experience.

Nigel has been a sea, coarse and game angler for more than 50 years, and a life member of the ACA/Angling Trust for nearly 30 years, serving on the ACA Council from 1989 to 1996. He has written for a variety of angling publications, both print and online, and contributed to Merlin Unwin’s 'The One that Got Away'.

A keen saltwater fly fisherman, Nigel is also a member of various trout syndicates as well as BASS, the Wild Trout Trust, the Civil Service Angling Society and the Frome, Piddle and West Dorset Fisheries Association. Nigel is the Honorary President of the Golden Scale Club.


TIM MACPHERSON (Angling Trust)

Has 15 years’ experience as a senior executive in two major media companies, as a profit centre head, publisher, event director and company director. His experience covers PR, marketing, event organising, advertising, digital media, design, sales and advertising across digital and print media.

Tim runs digital publishing outlets for anglers, creating and delivering content for anglers in Sussex including newsletters, web content, video and other assets.

Tim has been an angler, in all disciplines, from age 11 although he spends most of his time sea angling in Sussex and Cornwall. He is a member of four Sussex Angling Clubs and spent a brief time working for the Trust after it launched.


TIM GOODE (Fish Legal)

Has over 30 years’ experience in the banking and investment industry and has worked for a number of major banks. Over the past 12 years, Tim has established an FSA authorised boutique investment bank specializing in finance, debt covering and advisory matters for clients in the UK, Europe, the US and Asia.

Tim holds a number of Non-Executive roles including that as Chair of the North Atlantic Salmon Fund (UK),the UK arm of the global conservation coalition, through which he is involved in fundraising and negotiations with other parties including government.

Tim is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Corporate Treasurers and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Alien mussels!

Alien Quagga Mussels discovered in England 

Top Invasive Non-Native Species discovered in the Thames

A species identified by the Government as one of the most destructive invasive non-native species has been found at Wraysbury Reservoir and in the nearby River Colne system, a tributary of the River Thames.  Known to alter whole freshwater ecosystems, a mature adult can filter one or more litres of water a day, feeding on zooplankton which is the base of the food chain that all fish need to survive on and produce 1 million eggs in one season, so they can spread very rapidly. 

Quagga mussels (scientific name Dreissena bugensis) originate from the Caspian and Black Sea region which is the same part of the world as the Killer Shrimp and the Demon Shrimp which both arrived in the UK over the last 4 years.  The rapid breeding of the Quagga results in large numbers being established very quickly and has caused extensive damage in the areas it has already reached; The Great Lakes, Mississippi & Ohio rivers in America, Main river in Germany, the Netherlands and the Volga river in Russia.  Quagga mussels also have an impact on water supply and sewage infrastructure, canal lock gates, boat propellors and any other hard surfaces. 

Quagga mussel (Dreissena bugensis)

Quagga mussel (Dreissena bugensis)

There are no known methods for eradicating mussels once they have got into waterbodies.  The Angling Trust has called for concerted action by government and its agencies to stop this damaging species spreading to other rivers by alerting all water users and urging them to follow the Check, Clean, Dry guidelines for biosecurity and to report all sightings on the GB NNSS website at www.nonnativespecies.org

The EU Invasive Alien Species Regulation was approved finally by the European Council on Monday 29 September, which will require Member States to take action to prevent and eradicate invasive alien species of most concern.  The Angling Trust will be lobbying the UK government to ensure that these types of species are included in the lists.

Mark Owen, Head of Freshwater at the Angling Trust said: 'It’s vitally important that all water users, including anglers, take every possible precaution to stop this species spreading throughout the UK.  Quagga mussels could do untold damage to freshwater and estuarine environments if they are allowed to spread which could have a significant impact on marine and freshwater fish stocks.'

(http://www.nonnativespecies.org/checkcleandry).

Invite to flyfishers

Inspiring England’s next generation of Flyfishers 

The Angling Trust is inviting skilled, passionate and dedicated volunteers to support and inspire the next generation of England’s fly fishermen and women through direct involvement with England Youth Fly Fishing (AT EYF).

Angling Trust England Youth Fly Fishing is undertaking a transitional period following the departure of a number of key volunteers from the youth set up who have contributed significantly to the development and success of English Youth Fly Fishing for so many years. As a result a number of opportunities have arisen to join the AT EYF Committee; roles include Chairperson, Team Coordinator, Team Manager and Team Coach. Volunteers will receive support from the Angling Trust with coaching qualifications and other training opportunities.

Ben Thompson, Angling Trust Senior Competitions Manager said; ”English Youth Fly Fishing has prospered for so many years under the guidance of Chris McLeod and a fantastic team of volunteers. Their departure has left a huge void and they will be difficult to replace but with that comes the opportunity for new people to get involved, the opportunity to carry on the tremendous work of the previous team and ensure a bright future for English Youth Fly Fishing in this country.”

Role descriptions, person specification and adverts can be found on the Angling Trust website www.anglingtrust.net/vacancies and closing date for applications is Friday 31st October 2014. Interviews will be carried out at various locations around the country from week beginning 10th November 2014.

Further information can be obtained through Ben Thompson (Senior Competitions & Talent Development Manager) on 07854 240177.

How to Apply
Applicants should complete an application form and diversity monitoring form available at www.anglingtrust.net/vacancies and send them marked “Personal” to;-

David Compton
Angling Trust
Strelley Hall
Strelley
Nottingham
NG8 6PE

or via email to david.compton@anglingtrust.net
Closing date for applications is 17:00 on 31st October 2014
Interviews to take place week beginning 10th November at various locations

Action on fish theft

Police Chief pledges to act on fish theft 

The Angling Trust has won support from the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) to ensure that all Chief Officers in England and Wales will receive training about poaching and fish theft, and pass this on to their operational staff.  The National Policing Lead for Wildlife & Rural Crime, Simon Prince (Chief Constable of Dyfed Powys), one of the most senior police officers in the country, has given his backing to the initiative which will ensure that the police respond properly to reports of poaching and fish theft.

To date, anglers have been frustrated when reporting criminal offences connected with poaching and fish theft to the police due to confusion amongst call-handlers and operational police officers who have not been aware of their duties and responsibilities in this area.

Retired police officer and Angling Trust National Enforcement Manager Dilip Sarkar MBE has been working to address this issue with the National Wildlife Crime Unit and individual forces over the past two years.

Chief Constable of Dyfed Powys, Simon Prince

Chief Constable of Dyfed Powys, Simon Prince

ACPO comprises Chief Officers - the nation's 'Top Cops' - and in response to the evidence presented to him by Dilip Sarkar, the National Policing Lead for Wildlife & Rural Crime, Mr Simon Prince, Chief Constable of Dyfed Powys, said:

'As fish poaching can happen at any time and anywhere, I agree that there needs to be a greater awareness within the police service of the legislation that can be used to combat the problem. I have therefore caused a briefing note to be created and distributed to all Chief Officers in England & Wales, to be cascaded down to call-taking staff and operational police officers. That, together with the work the Angling Trust has been carrying out with our network of Wildlife Crime Officers, will hopefully achieve the outcome that we all desire'.

Angling Trust National Enforcement Manager, Dilip Sarkar MBE said: 'This is a massive step forward, which will bring an end to what, for anglers, has been an unacceptable situation. We understand that the problem was caused by an omission in training and it is great that this will finally be addressed. We are, however, entirely supportive of the problems faced by the police today, and share ACPO's desire to work in partnership. We are extremely grateful to Mr Prince in particular, and to the National Wildlife Crime Unit, for essential and ongoing understanding and support - which ultimately means poachers will increasingly find themselves with criminal records and being prosecuted'.

Dale Whittaker, Secretary of Nottinghamshire Piscatorial Society, said: 'We have recently reported a number of incidents to the local police but officers have clearly been confused and their response sometimes inappropriate. This has then taken time for the Angling Trust to resolve with Nottingham Police – so this is great news, because at last it means that police staff will be properly informed and can get things right from the start. This is a terrific step forward and we commend all involved'.

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust said: 'Many fishery owners and angling clubs have, quite rightly, been pressing us to take this issue to the highest level. I am very grateful to ACPO and to Chief Constable Prince for their support in bringing poachers to book for the damage that they do to fish stocks, to rural businesses and to the enjoyment of millions of anglers. We hope that more prosecutions will send a clear message to the poachers and fish rustlers that they cannot get away with criminal activity any longer.'

Anglers can find all they need to know about reporting offences to the police HERE.

Canoeing governing bodies challenged

Anglers launch legal challenge against canoeing National Governing Bodies 

Following a steady increase in complaints of canoe trespass incidents from angling clubs and fishery owners, Fish Legal has sent a legal ‘letter before action’ to the British Canoe Union (BCU), Canoe Wales (CW) and Canoe England (CE) demanding that they stop publishing information suggesting that there is a general right of navigation on non-tidal waterways in England and Wales, and/or that the law relating to navigation on rivers is unclear.  There is no such general right of navigation in law and permission for access is required for people to use boats on rivers.

Fish Legal and the Angling Trust have written repeatedly to the BCU over the past few years to explain the law and to ask that incorrect information is removed from web sites and other publications, but these requests have been ignored.  Legal action to force these organisations to stop publishing this information - which can encourage unlawful behaviour - now seems to be the only option.  The action will be backed by subscription income from Fish Legal members along with donations made over the past year from more than 100 angling clubs to the Sustainable Access Campaign Cymru.

A response to the ‘letter before action’ is pending and the Angling Trust and Fish Legal hope that taking this formal step may encourage the BCU, CE and CW to resolve matters constructively, without the need to go to court.

Fish Legal will seek ‘declaratory relief’ through the courts unless BCU, CW and CE amend their publications and stop publishing inaccurate information about the law to their members and the public.  The recent upsurge in unlawful canoeing in England and Wales has damaged the rights of several angling clubs and fishery owners.  Many canoeists have the false impression that they can take their boats down rivers wherever and whenever they like.  The Angling Trust and Fish Legal believe that the actions of BCU, CW and CE have contributed to this widespread trespass. 

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Angling Trust and Fish Legal said: 'We are taking action to stop the canoeing governing bodies publishing inaccurate information and to protect the rights of our member angling clubs and riparian owners.  This may now include court proceedings. Our members have often tried to make agreements with canoeing clubs for greater access, with reasonable conditions to protect the water environment and avoid interference with fishing.  However, these offers are repeatedly rejected, because the canoeing governing bodies insist that such agreements must allow unlimited access, or that permission is not needed.'

He added: 'We hope that this legal action, if it proves necessary, will settle beyond any doubt the issue of rights to navigate on rivers.  We need the canoeing governing bodies to recognise that the law is clear and that permission is required.  If this occurs, then we will be happy to work closely with them and our members to develop access agreements which make it possible for more people to go canoeing more often, without breaking the law or unreasonably interfering with angling.'

Fracking under fire

Government Fracking Controls Not Enough says Angling Trust

Angling and conservation groups have given a lukewarm welcome to this week’s Government announcement that National Parks and Areas of Natural Beauty will be afforded special protection and fracking developments will only be allowed within them under ‘exceptional circumstances’. Although a useful step in the right direction this definition remains unclear and will not prohibit all fracking in these areas.

Other wildlife sites which often include important fisheries, such as Special Protection Areas (SPAs), Special Areas for Conservation (SACs) and Sites of Scientific Interest (SSSIs) as well as nature reserves and Local Wildlife Sites, have been excluded from the new safeguards.

The Angling Trust, National Trust, RSPB, the Salmon and Trout Association, The Wildlife Trusts and the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust earlier this year published a major review of the risks that shale gas extraction (‘fracking’) could pose in the UK entitled ‘Are we Fit to frack?’ which put forward ten recommendations to address these risks.

These included:

  • Avoid sensitive areas for wildlife and water resources by creating shale gas extraction exclusion zones.
  • Make Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) mandatory for shale gas extraction proposals.
  • Require shale gas operators to pay for a world-class regulatory regime.
  • Prevent taxpayers from bearing the costs of accidental pollution.
  • Ensure monitoring and testing of shale gas operations is rigorous and independent.

The Angling Trust shares the concerns of other wildlife groups about the impacts of fracking and the potential for water contamination, close to a range of fragile ecosystems and habitats including vulnerable chalk streams. With many of the newly licensed fracking areas either on top of or close to the chalk aquifers of Southern and Eastern England the Trust has pressed for designating all sensitive areas as ‘no frack’ zones. Groundwater contamination poses a threat to all  river systems but the English chalk rivers are particularly vulnerable due to the permeable nature of their aquifers.

Angling Trust Campaigns Chief Martin Salter said:
This is a missed opportunity to ensure that all designated sites, which are highly sensitive and of great value to wildlife and fisheries, are properly protected from the outset. The Angling Trust has once again joined forces with other conservation groups to strongly urge Government to review this decision and deliver meaningful environmental protection and a rigorous system of regulation.

As we said in our joint report back in March we believe that fracking should only go ahead in the UK if it can be objectively demonstrated that the regulatory framework for the industry is fit for purpose, and offers sufficient protection to the natural and historic environment. The government has simply not done enough to convince anglers and conservationists that the problems experienced in America, with groundwater pollutions and environmental damage, won’t now be repeated over here.”