A ban on the sale of aquatic weedkillers is set to bring chaos to many of the nation’s stillwater fisheries, experts have warned.
Following the outlawing of many products used by fishery managers to control weed growth, culminating in the removal from the market of Casoron G earlier this year, thousands of stillwaters could soon become unfishable.
European rulings on the chemicals, suspected of being harmful to humans if they get into the water table, have left commercial fishery owners and clubs facing the daunting prospect of having to remove hundreds of tonnes of weed every summer by hand. Many now fear that such a labour intensive and expensive exercise will have a severe impact on the sport.
“This is a massive problem which is going to make fishery management increasingly difficult over the coming decade,” warned Mid Kent Fisheries boss Chris Logsdon.
“People haven’t realised just how much this is set to cost fisheries. Using chain cutters is like cutting your lawn ¬ you have to do it every few weeks.
And once you’ve cut the weed you have to dispose of it. And it’s not just weed, some of these chemicals helped control algae and blanket weed,” said
Furthermore, experts are warning that no replacement chemicals can be expected for at least three years.
“Herbicides were an extremely useful tool in a fishery manager’s armoury, to be used carefully in the correct way, where there were no other practical options. For excessive growths of Canadian Pondweed, water milfoil and similar plants, they were a godsend in the right circumstances,” said fisheries consultant Dr Bruno Broughton.
“While I share people’s general concerns about the possible adverse implications of poorly-planned and executed use of herbicides, we’ve gone from a well-stocked toolbox of safe, chemical options to one with just one tool remainingŠleaving fishery managers concerned and confused,” he added.
Orchid Lakes boss Marsh Pratley was scathing in his condemnation of the ban. “This will make some waters unfishable and seriously affect fish welfare,” warned Marsh.
“These idiots in Brussels need their arses kicking! This is yet another example of civil servants sat in offices hundreds of miles away making far-reaching decisions without offering any sensible, financially-viable alternatives to real problems,” he added.