We must stock more carp into our canals

Some of the biggest names in the sport have thrown their weight behind a campaign that could stop carp being removed from canals and would instead see the species stocked into these venues nationwide.

Commercial fishing ace Steve Ringer is the latest to have signed an online petition which was created after British Waterways netted almost all of the big carp from one of the UK’s premier stretches of canal.

Last week Angling Times revealed how anglers nationwide had reacted angrily when BW netted a stretch of the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal, following a request from local angling clubs Dams and Locks and the Stirrup Cup, who claimed that the carp were ‘ruining their matchfishing’.

Shimano UK brand manager Richard Griffiths launched the petition, that has also been signed by Richard Foster, boss of one of the sport’s biggest tackle retailers, Fosters of Birmingham.

But he also hopes that he can lead a bid to convince BW to ‘look to the future’ and stock canals with carp because he believes that this will make such venues much more viable and popular for future generations.

“Canals should be enjoyed by all anglers and I can’t believe that BW, which has many successful carp waters in its portfolio, would remove them from an already balanced ecosystem,” said Richard Griffiths.

“Countless stillwaters have tried to promote fishing for ‘silvers’, but have failed because anglers want to catch carp. I think it’s about time our sport moved with the times and considered stocking small carp into canals.”

Steve Ringer admitted to have been ‘shocked’ by the news of BW carrying out the netting of carp from the Birmingham & Fazeley and believes the species has earned its right to thrive in the nation’s canal systems.

He said, “To say carp are ruining matchfishing is a joke. I’m told that carp are never caught in matches on the stretch that was netted. An angler fishing any venue can get seen off by a big fish – that’s just the way it is.”

But anglers such as England international Darren Cox aren’t so sure that a canal with newly stocked carp is such a good thing.

“I grew up on the Leeds & Liverpool canal, fishing for roach and gudgeon. It was then stocked with small carp, which were great for three or four years before they became big fish and only lived in certain pegs. I have no problem with existing carp in canals, the stocking balances itself out, but I don’t agree with stocking a canal like you would a commercial. You’ll upset the natural balance,” he said.