Wildlife Trust bans fishing at 65 of its waters

Angling has begun the fight against an ‘anti-fishing’ wildlife organisation after it banned the sport at 65 of its waters.

The Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has caused outrage among local anglers and fishing clubs with its decision to stop fishing at all but one of its reserves, including the popular Sutton and Lond gravel pits and the 450-hectare Idle Valley Reserve at Retford.

Not only has the controversial decision made by the organisation, which is part of a wider network of 47 Wildlife Trusts who own and control 2,200 sites throughout the UK, been made with little or  no consultation with angling communities, but it’s news that also sets a worrying precedent for the future of fishing at other WT venues.

But the Angling Trust and the Pike Angling Club of Great Britain have vowed to fight the decision, and both are already in discussions with top representatives at the Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust to set up a meeting to look at its controversial decision.

“It’s impossible not to be concerned, as many of these waters have been enjoyed by anglers for many, many years, and they’ve been taken away with little or no warning whatsoever,” said Mike Heylin, Chairman of the Angling Trust.

“The trust is teaming up with the PAC and local anglers to try to turn some of these decisions around. I just hope that other Wildlife Trusts don’t have the same negative view of angling because they control a lot of water around the country.”

Nottingham Anglers Association is one of the biggest clubs in the area and still has fishing rights at a venue that’s under the control of the Wildlife Trust, a body partially funded by Natural England.

Members have enjoyed the first-class bream and pike fishing at Attenborough Nature Reserve for many years, but recently the NWT has slowly been restricting fishing, and now over 40 per cent of the complex is out of bounds to anglers.

“Organisations like this always say that they’re pro-angling, but how can they be when they’ve banned fishing at so many venues? Their actions contradict their words,” said David Kent, chairman of NAA.

“Every year they take a bit more of Attenborough away from us, and I really think that this venue could be next to see a total ban.”

Angling Times contacted the Nottingham Wildlife Trust and it supplied this statement:

“Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, one of 47 individual Wildlife Trusts across the UK, has a long-standing policy of not allowing recreational fishing, hunting or shooting at nature reserves where it holds the rights to control such activities.

“It manages several sites where it does not hold these rights and, as such, has experience of working closely with people exercising those rights to maximise benefits to wildlife. Across the UK, the Wildlife Trusts have close working relationships with many angling clubs such as Nottingham Anglers Association and other river trusts.”