The vast majority of Angling Times readers have voted for an extension to the river seasons and new legislation means change could happen soon.
A massive 78 per cent of you voted in favour of the closed season being moved back a month following our story last week highlighting the plight of tackle shops hit by the double whammy of recession and a record-breaking cold snap.
And AT can reveal that once the new Marine Bill is passed later this year, the Environment Agency may have no choice but to review the current river closed season.
That’s the view of a number of experienced fisheries experts, including Birmingham AA secretary John Williams and Angling Trust board member Mike Heylin.
Under the new laws, the EA will have the power to change the length and timing of closed seasons, meaning that fishing trials on select river venues through March, April, May and June could be a possibility.
Such trials, if properly controlled and scientifically assessed, would prove once and for all whether year-round angling pressure adversely affected fish and other riverside flora and fauna.
“We’ve been calling for fishing trials during the current closed season for over a decade,” claimed Mr Williams.
“The March 14 to June 16 break simply penalises anglers, while allowing all other water users to continue as normal. I’m convinced that trials would prove year-round river angling had no detrimental affect.
“If we can prove that there’s no scientific reason for keeping the closed season, then we can do away with it,” he argued.
And with almost 80 per cent of AT readers throwing their support behind last week’s proposals to postpone the annual shutdown by a month, there should be sufficient demand to ensure that the EA approves the experiment.
“We have never felt that spending rod licence payers’ money on scientific research into the impact of angling during the current closed season was justified,” explained EA fisheries policy manager Adrian Taylor.
“Let’s get the new legislation in place first. If the Marine Bill is passed, then we’ll have more opportunity and options available to us to do some science if enough anglers want us to,” he added.