One year after controversially banning all foreign anglers from entering his venue, an outspoken fishery boss has this week insisted “I was justified in doing so - the results speak for themselves.”
After suffering horrific poaching problems at his Grimsby complex, Tony Booth announced in early 2009 that all migrants would be prohibited from angling at Trentside Fishery.
The contentious decision caused uproar in many circles, with several groups charged with representing non-nationals claiming legal action would be taken unless the ban was reversed.
But 12 months on, the rule remains in place and Tony believes the big decline in illegal fishing at Trentside proves he was right to introduce such strict measures.
“Since the ban has been in place, word seems to have got about and I’ve only had the odd problem. The fact that my fishery isn’t blighted by poachers justifies I was right to ban foreigners.
“Everyone knows where I am, yet nobody has come to challenge me on this. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again - they haven’t got the bottle. There was all sorts of talk about action being taken against me, but I’ve heard nothing. The rule is staying in place and I will happily go to court,” said a defiant Tony.
Last year, Angling Trust officials linked up with a number of keen Eastern European anglers who practise catch and release to create the Building Bridges scheme.
Co-ordinator Radoslaw Papiewski is keen to engage in ‘positive dialogue’ with Tony in a bid to see the ruling reversed.
“I have heard of situations whereby bailiffs did not want to sell day tickets to migrant anglers, but changed their mind after conversations with Eastern Europeans who abide by the rules. This shows that communication can bring about change. I would urge Tony to get in touch with me so that we can work on ending this scenario,” said Radoslaw.
Despite nobody taking legal action against Tony to date, the Equality and Human Rights Commission told Angling Times there is more than enough evidence to launch proceedings.
“It is unlawful to be refused a service, or not to be given the same standard of service extended to others, on grounds of race or nationality. If a member of the public feels they have been discriminated against they can contact our helpline for advice and assistance,” said a spokesperson.