Cast your vote to help alter laws on fish poaching

Archaic byelaws that allow thieves to steal precious fish stocks from the nation’s rivers are finally on the verge of being changed - and you get to decide the new rules.

The news comes following the Environment Agency’s announcement that it is running a consultation process on new legislation governing the removal of any fish caught on rod and line.

The process has already started, and over the next 10 weeks angling
organisations, clubs and fisheries will be logging on to the EA’s website to complete what could be the most important rule change to affect coarse angling for decades.

And Angling Times is encouraging individual anglers to get involved as part of a huge effort by the sport to protect fish stocks and fisheries for generations to come.

“I think that it’s fantastic that the EA fisheries department has moved so swiftly to bring about these changes that we and others have been campaigning about for so long,” said AT editor Richard Lee.

“I was able to read through the short, simple document that explains it all and fill in the two-page form in a matter of minutes. I can’t stress how important it is for all coarse anglers to seize the initiative here and let the EA know what new rules they would like to see introduced,” he added.

His call to arms has been echoed by the Angling Trust, together with
numerous clubs and single species groups.

“We’d encourage all anglers to join us in replying to this consultation ¬ every angler should be taking responsibility for the future of the sport they love,” said an Angling Trust spokesperson.

The Pike Anglers’ Club and the Barbel Society are just two of the country’s high-profile angling clubs that are encouraging members to get involved.

“We’ve had poaching problems on Throop and the club will be making its views known and will be encouraging members to reply as well,” said Ringwood DAC’s press officer Daren Smith.

The Environment Agency has long recognised the need to change the current rules, but has been unable to get the ball rolling until now.

“Some existing local byelaws limit the removal of coarse fish, but these are inconsistent,” explained EA fisheries policy manager Adrian Taylor.

“We’re proposing to introduce new byelaws that will apply across England and Wales to limit fish removal, protecting coarse fish and the fisheries they support. With a change to our byelaw-making powers expected in the autumn, we are consulting with the angling world now, so we can introduce the new measures as soon as possible in 2010,” he added.

To air your views on this subject at the Environment Agency website, click HERE.