Your tackle shop to stock live fish?

The nation’s tackle shops could soon be selling live fish for use in predator fishing, if bold proposals from within the sport get the go-ahead.

One of angling’s most controversial topics, livebaiting, was thrust back into the limelight last week, after 80 per cent of Angling Times readers said the new byelaw consultation currently before Government should prohibit the removal of any fish from the nation’s rivers.

Now forward-thinking figures from within angling are pushing for the authorities to adopt well-established practices from the US and legalise the sale of certified ‘triploid’ (sterile) fish in a bid to safeguard the future of livebaiting.  

Northern piking legend Gord Burton spends weeks every year predator fishing in North America and believes we need to follow the lead of law-makers over there.

“Countless tackle shops in the US have rows of large aerated tanks holding fish for livebaiting. These fish are all certified and clean from reputable fish farms, and I’ve never known a water over there to suffer from any ill-effects. I can’t understand why we don’t follow suit ¬ the Americans are light years ahead.

By licensing the sale of ‘safe’ livebaits in tackle shops, Gord, and others, believe that it would help to stamp out the widespread problem of people using unsuitable fish such as carp for livebait, a species synonymous with the spread of KHV and other diseases.

“If people have no need to operate outside the law, then the majority of them won’t. Gone will be the days of people turning up at fisheries or ferry ports with buckets of carp from dubious sources,” he added.

This is an opinion shared by Tim Kelly, president of the Pike Anglers’ Club.
As well as pushing for current laws on livebaiting to remain ¬ ie people being allowed to use a limited number of small fish from the water they are pike fishing ¬ the PAC is also pushing for the introduction of certified triploid fish in tackle shops.

“A lot of countries allow tackle shops to sell sterile fish for livebaits, including France. We fail to see why the issue is even controversial ¬ it’s just another case of the petty politicisation of an issue by people who don’t understand it. If you make it easy for people to buy them, where’s the incentive in going out and acting illegally? It would also give the tackle trade a boost.” When contacted by Angling Times, Adrian Taylor, fisheries policy and process manager at the EA, admitted the introduction of certified sterile livebaits was an issue it was considering: “The PAC’s suggestion about certified triploids is interesting but not directly relevant to the byelaw consultation, which is about removal of fish by rod and line. However, we will consider the suggestion when developing our new live fish movements regulations next year.”